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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh Monday directed the provincial governments to follow a self-sustaining model and streamline daily release of wheat to ensure steady supply in the provinces as well as districts.

While chairing the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), the finance minister directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to continuously monitor stocks of sugar, its supply position in the market and prices throughout the country for the consumers.

The finance minister further directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour at reasonable rates for the general public.

He also urged the provincial governments to continue taking necessary steps to ensure provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.

The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar and edible oil during the week in the light of briefing by the finance secretary about weekly SPI, and stated the it registered a decline of 0.22 percent, and the main drivers behind decrease in the SPI are falling prices of eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and chicken.

Prices of 21 basic items remained stable, whereas seven items registered a decline during the week.

The Food Ministry told the NPMC that all stakeholders are on board with reference to the existing position of wheat stock in the country.

The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research assured all possible measures would be taken to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar updated the NPMC about the recent decline in international prices of palm oil, which will eventually reduce the upward pressure on the prices of edible oil in the domestic market.

Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) updated the NPMC about the benefits of recently-developed dashboard of prices of essential items and progress on its implementation in coordination with the provinces.

The NPMC directed the PBS to provide necessary support to the provinces to make the system fully functional for vigilant monitoring of prices of essential commodities and to remove price disparity across the country.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, provincial chief secretaries, secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, additional secretary Ministry of NFS&R, additional secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, chairman FBR, member CCP, chairman TCP, MD USC, member IT/HRM and member National Accounts from the PBS, and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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