Volatile global edible prices causing rate hike locally: Tarin
ISLAMABAD: The volatile prices of edible oil in the international market have pushed up the local prices of ghee/vegetable in the country and there is a need to have a sliding scale to link up the prices of ghee in the local markets with the international markets, a senior government official said.
Presiding over a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division, Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to work out a strategy for measurable impact on the prices of ghee/edible oil in the domestic markets.
Taking stock of the weekly calculation of the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), Tarin urged the Member of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to review its methodology and extend coverage by including the footprint of Saasta/Itwar Bazaars in the mainstream cities where upward pressure on the prices of food items is absorbed through the provision of food items at subsidised rates.
At present, the significant price differential between the wholesale and retail prices in Saasta Sahulat Bazaars is not covered by the PBS.
Finance secretary Yusuf Khan said that an upsurge in the international food prices is affecting the domestic prices, as Pakistan is a net importer of staple food items, including wheat, sugar, ghee, etc.
The international price hike is due to a fall in the global food production and high consumption demand coupled with supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
The NPMC directed the provincial chief secretaries to resume daily release of wheat at the price determined by the federal government to ensure smooth wheat supply at affordable prices across the country. The government’s fixed price for wheat is Rs1,950/40kg.
The Ministry of Industries and Production secretary briefed the committee about the arrangements being made to import sugar with respective timelines.
The NPMC directed the Punjab chief secretary to make requisite arrangements to lift the imported sugar stock at the earliest and ensure smooth supply of sugar to other provinces and chain of the Utility Stores Corporations (USCs) as per the demand.
The committee directed the provincial governments to ensure sale of sugar in the market at the price fixed by the government.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security apprised the meeting that a detailed strategy will be presented before the committee to build strategic reserves of pulses, as well as perishable commodities to stabilise prices of the daily use items.
The detailed strategy will also include provision of enabling infrastructure, including agricultural malls, storage facilities and commodity warehouses.
He also mentioned the plan to purchase pulses from farmers through Passco and the Food Department for further supply at lower prices through the USCs to the consumers and also specified bazaars.
Moreover, the SAPM underlined to grow sugar beet as an additional crop to ensure steady supply of sugar at a fair price throughout the year.
Among others, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Finance Division, Petroleum, Ministry of Industries and Production secretaries, provincial chief secretaries, FBR chairman, chief commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory, Member PBS and other senior officials participated in the meeting.
SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Cheema joined through a video-link.
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