Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced that his government would use “all resources at the state’s disposal” to bring down continuously rising food prices that have made life difficult for the common man.
The premier, who made the announcement on Twitter, said that the task would begin starting Monday.
“Starting Monday in the coming week, our govt will use all the resources at the disposal of the state to bring down food prices,” he wrote, adding that “his government was already looking at the causes of the hike in prices, including hoarding, smuggling or a rise in international prices”.
Starting Monday in coming week, our govt will use all the resources at the disposal of the state to bring down food prices. We are already examining causes of the price hikes: whether there is a genuine supply shortage or simply hoarding by mafias; smuggling, if any;
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 10, 2020
The premier also said the government was checking if the price hike may be due to an increase in “international prices” for palm oil, lentils or any other item.
“From next week, we will have our strategy in place and action will begin using all state organisations and resources to bring down food prices,” he added.
Further, Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that South Asia has seen a “temporary food inflation spike”.
South Asia has witnessed a temporary food inflation spike. Govt will take all measures needed to reduce prices of essential commodoties. Imported wheat and sugar will be released at control rates by provinces. All options are being examined for other commodities. pic.twitter.com/IByTJitMU1
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) October 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the Sensitive Price Index (SPI)-based weekly inflation for the combined group in the period ended on October 8 increased by 1.24pc on the back of an uptick in prices of essential food items, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday.
For the lowest income group earning below Rs17,732 per month, the SPI increased by 1.56pc, while the same for the highest-earning group i.e. those earning above Rs44,175, recorded an increase of 1.08pc.
The PBS calculates the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) based on the prices of 51 essential items from 50 markets across 17 cities of the country.
Items that witnessed a price increase during the week included tomatoes (16.39pc); onions (12.78pc); eggs (10.78pc); chicken (5.34pc); wheat flour bag (2.78pc); potatoes (2.64pc); moong pulse (1.21pc); and sugar (1.03pc).
Meanwhile, the prices of non-food items remained unchanged over the week.
Items whose prices declined during the week included bananas (2.17pc); mash pulse (0.19pc); and gur (0.04pc).
It is worth mentioning that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation during the month of September accelerated by 9.04pc — above expectations — on the back of an increase in food inflation.