Sindh assures committee to raise release of wheat to check price hike

Hamza Habib Our Correspondent

13th Oct, 2021. 08:54 pm

ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) has urged Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to increase daily releases of wheat to bring down the prices of flour.

During the meeting, presided over by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam held at the Finance Division, the committee observed that the price of 20kg bag of wheat flour was Rs1,100 in Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory due to daily release of wheat at the government-specified rates.

However, the prices of wheat flour bag in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar were in the range of Rs1,300 and Rs1,460 per bag.

The NPMC took strict notice of the price differential and urged the provincial governments of Sindh, KP and Balochistan to initiate daily releases on top priority.

The Food secretary informed the committee that the Sindh government will start daily release of wheat at the government-notified price with effect from October 16, 2021.

The NPMC commended the provincial government of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration for daily release of wheat, which has stabilised the prices of wheat flour bag.

Imam stressed the need to start daily release of wheat at the government-notified rates to ease pressure on the prices of wheat flour throughout the country.

The Ministry of Food secretary briefed the committee about sufficient availability of wheat stocks with the provinces and Passco.

The adviser on finance briefed the NPMC about the increase in weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) by 1.21 per cent, compared with the consecutive decline over the last two weeks.

The prices of 21 items remained stable, whereas eight items registered a decline during the week under review.

The Industries and Production secretary highlighted the start of the voluntary crushing of the sugarcane in some districts of Sindh by October 25, 2021.

He also briefed the committee about the priority of the government to begin sugarcane crushing by the first week of November 2021 in the Punjab province. The sugarcane production is expected to be in greater quantity, compared with the last year.

Moreover, the imported sugar is being provided to Sasta Sahulat Bazaars and Utility Stores Corporation at the subsidised rates of Rs90/kg to provide relief to the consumers. The early crushing of sugarcane will further reduce the prices of the commodity in the local markets, he added.

The committee was also briefed about the continuous fluctuations in the international prices of palm and soyabean oils.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has worked out an arrangement with all the relevant stakeholders and a firmed up proposal will be submitted before the Cabinet to reduce duty on the import of edible oil, which will reduce the prices of ghee in the local markets.

The NFS&R secretary also highlighted the increase in the prices of chicken due to seasonal factor. The opening of restaurants and banquet halls have pushed the demand for increased consumption of chicken and the prices will be streamlined with the improved supply in a few weeks.

Among others, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Food Security Jamshed Cheema, secretary of the Ministry of Food, economic adviser, additional secretary of the Ministry of Industries and Production, additional secretary of Commerce, deputy commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Pakistan Bureau of Statistics member, representatives of the provincial food departments and other senior officials participated in the meeting.

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