Tarin directs provinces to release wheat at subsidized rates

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Prices of 7 items decline, 19 stable: NPMC


Mohammad Arshad
Islamabad

National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), Monday, reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar edible oil/ghee, pulses and chicken during the last week.

While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that prices of 07 items registered a decline whereas 19 remained stable during the week under review.

NPMC met here with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin in the chair and was briefed by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research about efforts underway to import 04 million metric tons of wheat during the current year to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.

He also apprised about multiple options under consideration for building strategic reserves of wheat throughout the country.

The underlying rationale is to ensure steady supply of wheat at affordable prices across the board.

While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed all respective Provincial administrations to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidized rates without fail, in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.

While reviewing the current price trend of chicken, the representatives of the Provincial governments reported that surge in prices of chicken are driven by the gap in supply and demand.

The poultry farmers have suffered losses over the last few months due to Covid-19 related supply disruption and poultry disease which in turn, fuelled poultry prices.

The Finance Minister sought details from the Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan regarding inquiry underway with reference to some anti-competitive conduct that led to price hike in chicken feed, which in turn, increased prices of chicken.

The Chairperson apprised that the process will be completed soon and recommendations would be shared with the Provincial governments and departments concerned for appropriate counter-action. The Finance Minister directed to accelerate the whole process.

The speed is of essence in drawing findings and taking stern measures to check cartelization, hoarding and undue profiteering effectively, he stressed.

Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production apprised about the current uptick in international prices of soya and palm oils.

Owing to significant volatility in international prices of edible oil, the Finance Minister constituted a sub-committee comprising of the Minister for National Food Security and Research and Minister for Industries and Production to work out a lasting arrangement by exploring alternate options to reduce dependence on import of oil and other basic food items.