Finance minister for strict steps measures to stabilize prices of essential items
Mohammad Arshad Islamabad
The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), Monday, reviewed the year-on-year weekly infla-tion.
It is pertinent to mention that the year-on-year weekly inflation is coming down for the last two months from a high of 17.23% on 20 May 2021 to 12.28% on 08 July 2021, which is a significant de-cline in SPI.
Similarly, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (as released on 01 July 2021) showed an an-nual inflation at national level at 8.9% which was down from 10.74% a year ago, while urban and rural inflation were at 8.15% and 10.05% as com-pared to 10.17% and 11.63% respectively. Clearly, the inflation is coming down across all measures.
NPMC met here with Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin in the chair and was briefed by the The Secre-tary Finance about a slight increase of 0.07% in weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI) indicating price stability as compared to the previous weeks.
While reviewing the Year-on-Year and Week-on-Week inflation trends, the Finance Minister urged the respective District Administrations and depart-ments concerned to take stern administrative meas-ures to keep the prices of essential items including vegetables in check on the occasion of upcoming Eid-ul-Adha to eliminate undue profiteering.
The Finance Minister constituted a working group under the umbrella of NPMC comprising of Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Finance Division and representatives of PBS, M/o NFS&R and other rele-vant departments to workout measures for bringing price stability in basic commodities by using mys-tery shopping exercise and building strategic re-serves of key commodities namely wheat, sugar, pulses, ghee, tomatoes, onions and potatoes in order to eliminate undue profit margins and ensure avail-ability of items of daily use at affordable prices across the country.
While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed PBS to present a detailed variance analysis vis-a-vis weekly SPI highlighting food prices prevailing across mainstream cities/districts for real-time comparison.
The data would be used by the respective Provincial administrations and departments concerned to ensure that notified rates are being followed across the board.
This will minimize price differential between farm gate prices and retail rates. Secretary, M/o Industries and Pro-duction briefed the NPMC about the international price trend of edible oil.
After increase in prices of Soya bean and Palm Oils, at present the international prices have registered a decline.
The Finance Minister directed the Ministry of Industries and Production, the Competition Commission of Pakistan(CCP) and FBR to take requisite actions to ensure that current decline in the international prices of edible oil is passed on to the domestic consumers soon.
On the occasion, the Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan briefed the Committee that CCP has undertaken an inquiry in the edible oil and ghee sector to ascertain information and cross check facts regarding alleged collective price-fixing of retail prices of various products of cooking oil and ghee for different mar-ket segments.
The Finance Minister directed the Chairperson, CCP to expedite inquiry and follow due course of action to put an end to anti-competitive activities.
No car-telization will be allowed at any cost and strict ac-tion will be taken against hoarding and undue profi-teering, he affirmed.
The CCP also shared findings about presence of 4000 Artis across 36 districts in Punjab dealing with the prices of basic vegetables.
After reviewing the findings of the CCP, the Fi-nance Minister directed to build a model/frame work in which DCs/ACs are assigned to monitor a specific number of Artis (middlemen) to eliminate price manoeuvring.