Tarin seeks three-month ban on essential food items export
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Revenue and Finance Shaukat Tarin has directed the Ministry of Commerce to impose a ban on the export of essential food commodities to control food inflation.
The federal minister presided over the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting held at the Finance Division and directed the Ministry of Commerce to expedite the process of banning export of perishable commodities in consultation with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for next three months to ensure availability of such commodities at an affordable price to the local consumers.
The decision was taken in view of the seasonal variations, as well as rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Finance Minister Tarin said that inflation in food commodities is an international phenomenon at the moment. The government has taken a range of measures to absorb pressure of the international price hike in staple food items by providing subsidies to provide maximum relief to the consumers.
The government is fully cognizant of its responsibility to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country, he added.
Earlier, the finance secretary briefed the meeting about the decline of 0.07 per cent in the weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) inflation.
The rise in the global food prices and petroleum prices due to the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the prices of essential food items worldwide.
The continuous uptick in the international food prices is affecting the domestic prices, as Pakistan is a net importer of staple food items such as wheat, sugar, edible oil and pulses, he added.
Taking stock of the situation, the finance minister expressed satisfaction over the release of wheat by the Punjab government at the government specified rate, which is easing out the price of wheat flour bags in the province.
Tarin directed the provincial chief secretaries of Sindh, Balochistan and KP to expedite the process for releasing wheat at the price determined by the federal government after fulfilling the requisite formalities.
The finance minister reiterated the firm commitment of the government to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour across the country at government specified prices.
The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) managing director apprised the committee about the progress on automation of processes and integration with Ehsaas data system to work out a mechanism for the provision of direct subsidies to the beneficiaries as per the eligibility criteria.
He also briefed the meeting about the installation of point of sales. The finance minister directed the USC official to complete the entire process of automation by December 2021.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) member presented a detailed presentation about collection of prices across different cities/markets to compile weekly SPI.
The meeting directed the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security to hold consultative sessions with the provincial chief secretaries, Ministry of Industries and Production secretary and chief commissioner ICT to sort out issues in effective coverage of markets to ensure data collected by the PBS reflects the prevailing trend of prices of the items of daily use, including Saasta Sahulat Baazars for extensive and accurate calculation.
Reviewing the prices of essential commodities, the meeting noted that the current hike in the international prices of food commodities may continue to remain strong in the months to follow due to global supply bottlenecks.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister of State on Information Farrukh Habib, SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Finance Division, Ministry of Industries and Production secretaries, additional secretary commerce, provincial chief secretaries, chief commissioner Islamabad, chief statistician PBS, Utility Stores Corporation (USC) managing director, CCP chairperson, Member FBR, Passco managing director and other senior officials participated in the meeting.
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