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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Monday directed the Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) to hold a meeting with provincial chief ministers to keep a check on prices of wheat flour to avoid any artificial price hike.

The minister while chairing weekly meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, tomatoes, vegetable ghee, chicken and eggs during the last week.

The meeting was told that the weekly sensitive price index (SPI) recorded a decrease of 0.57% wherein prices of 07 basic items registered a decline and 18 commodities remained stable. The overall release position of wheat was reviewed during the meeting and finance minister directed the concerned officials to ensure smooth supply of wheat at affordable prices across the country.

The Ministry of Industries and Production updated the committee that the sugarcane crushing season has ended. The overall production is higher as compared to the last year. Upon this, the finance minister directed the provincial governments and other stakeholders to provide estimates regarding additional demand for sugar to the Ministry of Industries and Production for effective planning during the current year.

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that his ministry is already working on various measures for provision of ghee/oil at reasonable price. In addition, he said that the Utility Stores Corporations would ensure availability of ghee at a subsidized price under “Ramazan Relief Package” through its chain of outlets during the holy month.

The finance minister acknowledged the provision of basic items by the Utility Stores Corporations at subsidized rates and directed MD USC to ensure availability of essential items at respective outlets across the country.

He reiterated commitment of the government to provide maximum relief to the general public through provision of basic commodities at fair prices.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, Additional Secretary Ministry of National Food. Security and Research, Member Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Managing Director (MD) Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Service Corporation (Passco), Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Managing Director (MD) Utility Stores Corporation and senior officials of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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