Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, chaired a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) here on Monday.
The NPMC reviewed the availability of essential commodities, namely wheat, flour, sugar, tomatoes, onions, vegetable ghee, and chicken. Finance Secretary apprised the NPMC that there has been a consistent decline in prices for the last three weeks.
The weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI) data showed that prices declined by 0.3 percent in the last week, notably in essential food commodities including sugar, onions, potatoes, rice, and pulses.
This is due to the improved availability of wheat, sugar, and vegetables due to imports by the government and the private sector. The chair lauded the efforts of the concerned ministries and departments and the Provincial Governments for keeping the prices of essential commodities in check.
During the meeting, the Finance Minister urged the Provincial governments to strictly monitor the prices of chicken and ensure smooth supply to minimize the gap in supply and demand.
He also held a detailed discussion with the Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) and the Provincial Chief Secretaries regarding the position of wheat and sugar stocks in the Provinces.
Secretary MNFS&R briefed the NPMC that sufficient stocks of wheat are available across the country. The Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) government has demanded an additional quantity of wheat, which will be fulfilled in time, he assured.
The Finance Minister also approved the provision of wheat to Utility Stores Corporation (USC), and the formal approval would be granted as per the summary moved by the MNFS&R in the next ECC meeting.
Secretary Industries and Production briefed that the slight increase in the price of vegetable ghee is due to a spike in international prices. Finance Minister directed the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) to look into upward pricing trends in the international market and take necessary steps to minimize its impact on domestic prices.
Minister for Industries and Production, Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R), Secretary Industries and Production, the Provincial Chief Secretaries, MD Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and representatives of ICT Administration, PBS, TCP and senior officers of Finance Division participated in the meeting.