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ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Thursday reviewed the prices of essential commodities and directed the Ministry of National Food Security and provincial governments to ensure inter-provincial coordination in order to avoid any shortage of daily items, particularly wheat, before Ramazan.

“The Ministry of Food Security is responsible for inter-provincial coordination in order to avoid any shortage of wheat before Ramazan,” said Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, while chairing the NPMC meeting.

The minister also directed the officials to take stern action against those involved in market hoarding and there should be zero tolerance against hoarders. He directed the officials to ensure the supply of essential commodities keeping in view the demand which will be increased in the month of Ramzan.

The meeting was attended by the chief economist, Chief Commissioner, Islamabad, representatives from all provinces, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), and the Ministry of Food Security and Industries.

The food secretaries of all the provinces are directed to hold a meeting immediately with the Ministry of Food to review the progress of wheat across the country and to ensure its smooth production and supply, said the minister.

During the meeting, the PBS officials gave a presentation on price monitoring and inflation while representatives from Punjab, KP, Sindh, and Balochistan apprised the forum of the current production and supply of wheat and sugar. The minister directed the concerned stakeholders to closely monitor the price index and to ensure the forecasting in order to avoid any disruption in Ramzan.

The PBS is directed to submit a report of essential commodities, keeping in view the trends of the last three years so that the supply side could be managed accurately.

During the meeting, the minister also expressed serious concerns over the increased prices of essential commodities in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and directed the Chief Commissioner to control the prices immediately. “There should not be too much difference between the prices of wholesale and retail items," remarked the minister, while directing the Chief Commissioner to deploy Assistant Commissioners in respective areas to control the prices.

“Immediate measures need to be taken to control the prices of essential commodities and this is our top priority to provide maximum relief to the common man,” the minister said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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