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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has asked the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) to formulate strategy to optimally maintain the strategic reserves of wheat in the country to meet any difficult situation in the future.

While presiding over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), held at the Finance Division on Wednesday, the economic adviser Finance Ministry briefed the NPMC about weekly SPI, which witnessed decrease by 0.06 percent as compared to the previous week, which was 0.43 percent. 33 food items contributed increase of 0.05 percent, whereas, 18 non-food items contributed decrease of 0.11 percent to the SPI.

The NPMC was informed that there is decline in the SPI for the third time since December 31st, 2021.

The NPMC was updated on the prices of wheat flour and was informed that there was stability in the wheat flour prices in the country.

However, the slight variation in the wheat flour prices was due to the disruption in the supply caused by rain and fog.

The meeting discussed the stock position of wheat in the country and was informed that sufficient stocks of wheat are available.

The NPMC also discussed sugar prices in the country and directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to expedite the process for building strategic reserves of sugar in the country and maintain stability in prices.

On the prices of pulses, the NPMC was informed that prices of moong pulse have shown stability, while prices of gram, maash, and masoor pulses have registered increase due to less production of these pulses in the world, variations in the exchange rate and increased freight charges.

The finance minister expressed concerns on the difference in retail and wholesale prices of pulses in the country and directed the Ministry of NFS&R to investigate and take appropriate action against the exploiters to maintain stability in the prices of imported pulses.

Prices of edible oil in the country came under discussion in the meeting.

The NPMC showed concerns on the increase in the prices, whereas, international market has witnessed dip in the prices of edible oil and directed the Ministry of Industries and Production to formulate strategy and explore alternate options for import of edible oil to reduce the prices in the country.

The NPMC was briefed on the availability of essential goods at subsidised rates at the Sastaa and Sahulat Bazaars across the country.

In his concluding remarks, the finance minister underscored the efforts being made for keeping the prices of essential items in check and measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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