Asad Umar chairs NPMC meeting, reviews prices of food, pharmaceutical items

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  • Committee agrees to formulate an integrated market mechanism to reduce price disparity among provinces

ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) met on Thursday to discuss the current supply and demand situation, as well as to take stock of the prices of food and pharmaceutical items in the country.

The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar and attended by relevant federal ministries and provincial departments. The meeting reviewed the prices of perishable and non-perishable food items, particularly 28 essential kitchen items.

The committee was informed that volatility in the prices of perishable items, particularly tomatoes, onions, gram and pulses, was primarily due to seasonal variations. The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which monitored the kitchen items during the last two of March, showed a sharp decline, suggesting that the prices of these items in the market are on a downward trajectory.

The meeting decided that a strong forecasting mechanism will be put in place to ensure availability of essential food items in the coming three to six months in consultation with the provincial governments.

A monthly meeting of NPMC will be held regularly to review the supply and prices of all commodities, while timely measures will be put in place to avoid any shortage in the country.

The finance minister directed that the market committees may be made more proactive so that they could play a vigilant role in the effective monitoring of prices across the country.

It was also agreed that price disparity among the provinces will be reduced through an integrated market mechanism.

The NPMC decided that laws would be reviewed to ensure that price control mechanism proactively focuses on cartelization, hoarding and undue profiteering.

The meeting also reviewed the availability of commodities with a particular reference to the holy month of Ramazan. The Utility Store Corporation assured NPMC that the government’s Ramzan Package will be implemented to ensure sufficient availability of commodities at affordable prices.

The meeting agreed that Susta bazaars, Itwar bazaars and fair price shops will be increased throughout the country to ensure sufficient availability of commodities for the common man.

The prime minister on Monday (April 8th) will chair a meeting to further review the supply and prices of food and pharmaceuticals in the country. The concerned ministries will table before the prime minister short and medium-term policy recommendations as well as structural measures needed to ensure smooth supply and stability in the prices.

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