ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Monday vowed to take action against all those responsible for profiteering or hoarding.
He was chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting at the Finance Division. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Chief Secretaries of the provincial governments, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Chairperson CCP and other senior officers of various Ministries participated in the meeting.
The NPMC 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 seven basic commodities registered a decline whereas 26 items remained stable during the week under review.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam updated the NPMC about the wheat procurement drive of the Provinces and PASSCO to ensure steady supply of wheat at fair prices during the current year. He further apprised the NPMC that Punjab is ahead of other Provinces in procurement of wheat to date.
The committee was informed that the summary to import 4 million metric tonnes wheat would be presented before the next ECC for requisite approval to build strategic reserves and to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.
While taking stock of the situation, the finance minister directed all provincial governments to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidised rates in compliance with the directives of the prime minister. He strictly urged the representatives of provincial governments to ensure uninterrupted daily release without fail.
While reviewing the price trend of basic commodities in international markets, the NPMC noted that major driver behind increase in prices of items of daily use is massive international price hike due to ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The year-on-year (YoY) comparative analysis indicated that price of crude oil increased by 178pc in April 2021 as compared to April 2020. Similarly, the price of sugar in international the market increased by 57pc in a YoY comparison.
Furthermore, international prices of palm oil, soyabeen oil and wheat also registered a continued upward trend which, in turn, led to sharp increase in prices of basic items in domestic markets.
Speaking on the occasion, the finance minister stated that Covid-19 crisis has fuelled food prices in international markets especially edible oil, sugar, tea and wheat. The government is making an all-out effort to ensure smooth supply of basic items through a network of ramzan Sahaulat Bazaars and chain of USCs outlets to ease shortages and mitigate price spike in local markets.
Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) chairperson presented findings before the committee regarding completion of recent inquiry in the Poultry Industry. The CCP underlined some anti-competitive conduct that led to surge in prices of Chicken feed, which, in turn, increased prices of chicken.
Tarin stressed that cartelisation would not be acceptable at any cost.
“Stern action would be taken by the provincial administrations and departments concerned to keep the prices of basic commodities in check,” he reiterated.