ISLAMABAD: Production of sugar is likely to increase this year due to improved sugarcane crushing activity, which would release pressure on the upward price trend, the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) was informed on Monday.
The meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, reviewed the availability of essential commodities, including wheat, sugar, eggs, edible oil, etc. Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar, National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) Minister Syed Fakhar Imam, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Revenue Waqar Masood Khan, federal and provincial chief secretaries, FBR chairman, CCP members, TCP chairman, PASSCO MD, USC MD and senior officers of the Finance Division wre also present on the occasion.
A Punjab government official briefed the meeting that strict action has been taken against the role of middlemen in the sugarcane market as directed by NPMC. He informed that prices of sugar are currently stable in the province; however, in some areas, a marginal hike has been observed due to fog and extreme weather conditions.
Similarly, the meeting was informed that prices of wheat and eggs have registered a downward trend due to coordinated and consolidated efforts of the provincial governments, while Hammad Azhar apprised the forum of steps being taken to control prices of edible oil and ghee.
The NFS&R minister told the NPMC about the current status of wheat stock across the country, assuring that all possible measures will be taken to ensure an uninterrupted supply of wheat at affordable prices.
Further, a member of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) presented a live dashboard of prices of essential items for comparative analysis. The system is prepared by PBS to monitor food prices and figure out price fluctuations for timely decision making and smooth coordination among provincial governments and departments concerned.
The finance minister appreciated the concerned ministries and departments for keeping the prices of essential commodities in check. He, however, directed the provincial governments to strictly continue the momentum of strict price monitoring for provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.
Towards the end of the meeting, the NPMC directed PBS to hold a meeting with all provincial governments to remove price disparity in essential items and urged them to draw maximum benefit from the newly developed system.