ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin Tuesday said that the role of provincial governments is very important to bring about stability in the prices of daily-use items in compliance with the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

On Monday, the prime minister had held a meeting to review the prices of essential commodities, replenishing strategic reserves of sugar and wheat and reducing the soaring price of edible oil.

An official said that the finance minister was very concerned about the prices of essential commodities and wanted some kind of mechanism to check the huge difference in prices from market to retail level.

On Tuesday, the finance minister held a meeting with the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Food Security Jamshed Cheema on price control strategy for essential commodities. While reviewing the value chain of essential commodities, Tarin stressed the need for accurate forecasting to ensure smooth supply of basic items at affordable prices across the country.

Cheema apprised the finance minister about the significance of maintaining strategic reserves and strict implementation of administrative measures in order to provide maximum relief to consumers.

After detailed deliberations, a decision was taken that the SAPM would hold consultations with all relevant stakeholders including provincial chief secretaries and chalk out a comprehensive plan to examine the entire food chain of 15 basic commodities from farm to retail market and identify gaps which needs to be filled in through accurate forecasting and proactive decision-making to ensure availability of essential items at fair prices.

Similarly, there would be a renewed focus on an effective communication strategy to keep general public well-informed about the measures being taken to ensure price stability and smooth supply of essential items throughout the country.

It was also decided that key focus will be on provision of targeted subsidies for a meaningful market intervention.

The finance minister stated that a multi-faceted price stability strategy will be implemented to facilitate farmers by offering price guarantees and confirmed take off to protect them from exploitation at the hands of middleman/wholesalers. Investment through public private partnership will be invited to develop multipurpose storage facilities for maintaining strategic reserves, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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