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ISLAMABAD: Finance Ministry Wednesday claimed that prices of sugar are easing out in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad.

The weekly meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin was told by the secretary finance that price of sugar has been gradually coming down, following start of crushing of sugar and proactive measures of the government.

Tarin expressed concern about high prices of sugar at retail level in Sindh and Balochistan, despite start of crushing.

The meeting reviewed the prices of wheat, sugar, pulses, chicken, and other essential food items in the country and the secretary finance briefed the NPMC about the weekly SPI situation, which has been increased by 1.81 percent during the week under review.

While reviewing the price trend of essential commodities, the secretary finance apprised that prices of six essential commodities registered decline, whereas, prices of 15 items remained stable during the last week, he added.

The meeting was further informed that the prices of essential commodities registered decline as compared to the same period last year, whereas, moong pulse and onion have registered a decline in the week.

The NPMC also emphasised on building strategic reserves of moong and providing incentives to farmers to produce maash pulse domestically to lessen the import dependence.

The meeting was told that the prices of wheat flour bags remained consistent at Rs1,100 per 20kg due to the proactive measures of the Punjab, KP governments, and the ICT administration.

The adviser expressed concern over the significant price difference of wheat flour in Sindh and Balochistan provinces as compared to the other provinces.

He advised the provincial chief secretaries of Sindh and Balochistan to increase the daily releases of wheat to improve the supply situation in the markets and make efforts to bring the prices of wheat at lower level.

Chief Secretary, government of Sindh briefed the NPMC that Sindh government was taking possible measures to control the price of wheat in the province by timely releasing the stocks.

The secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the meeting about sufficient availability of stock of wheat with the provinces and PASSCO.

The secretary Ministry of Industries and Production informed the meeting that sugar mills in Sindh and Punjab have started production, hence with the arrival of new stocks of sugar in the market, the prices will be lower in the coming days.

While reviewing the prices of edible oil, the NMPC observed that the increase in prices of edible oil in the global market has affected the local prices.

Similarly, seasonal factor has affected the prices of chicken and eggs.

The meeting took notice of higher price of vegetable ghee in Sasta Bazaar of the KP and directed the chief secretary KP to take necessary corrective measures to ease out prices.

The adviser emphasised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to accelerate the monitoring of supply side of edible oil effectively to keep the prices stable.

While observing the stock position of fertilisers, the adviser directed the provincial governments to take strict actions against fertiliser hoarders and prevent shortage.

The NPMC observed that Sastaa and Sahulat bazaars in Punjab are offering essential goods at subsidised prices.

The adviser also informed that the government has firm commitment to prevent hoarding, therefore, a whistle blower against hoarders’ law shall be introduced and enforced soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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