Govt admits petroleum price hike creating inflationary pressures
ISLAMABAD: The government has admitted the fact that massive hike in petroleum prices has increased the prices of all essential commodities and food items.
This was disclosed during a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division on Wednesday and presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin.
The finance secretary briefed the meeting about the weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) inflation, which has increased 1.38 per cent during the week under review.
While reviewing the price trend of essential commodities, the finance secretary said the rise in the global food commodities and petroleum prices has affected the prices of essential food items worldwide.
The prices of seven essential commodities registered a decline, whereas that of 15 items remained unchanged during the last week, he added.
He also briefed the committee that the prices of wheat flour bags remained at Rs1,100/20kg bag due to the proactive measures of the Punjab government and ICT administration.
Tarin commended the efforts of the representatives of the Punjab government and Islamabad administration and expressed concern over the significant price differential in the wheat flour prices in Sindh, compared with other provinces.
He directed the chief secretary of Sindh to expedite the process of daily releases of wheat at the price determined by the government to ease out pressure on prices.
The adviser reiterated the firm commitment of the government to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour across the country at the government-specified price.
Tarin said that the government is taking a range of administrative, policy and relief measures to absorb the upward pressure on prices of basic food commodities globally.
The Punjab chief secretary said the sugarcane crushing will begin by November 15 in Punjab. The adviser directed the Sindh chief secretary to ensure sugarcane crushing starts as soon as possible to ensure stable price of sugar across the country.
He also directed all the provincial governments to finalise the indicative price of sugarcane at the earliest.
Tarin directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to draw a province-wise comparison of weekly SPI. The decision has been taken to analyse the price differential in SPI among provinces.
The Balochistan chief secretary also highlighted the need to expand the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets and establishing cold storages facilities in the province.
The adviser directed the relevant ministries to coordinate with the Balochistan government to expedite the matter.
Minister of State on Information Farrukh Habib highlighted the need to increase the footfall of Sasta Bazaars, to ensure the benefit to reach maximum number of people, while Tarin directed the provincial governments to devise strategies for the same.
The adviser said the government is taking all possible measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities across the country.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, federal secretaries, Utility Stores Corporation managing director, provincial chief secretaries, PBS chief statistician, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) chairperson, FBR member and other senior officers participated in the meeting.
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