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National Price Monitoring Committee reviews mechanism to ensure price stability

ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee on Wednesday stressed upon the provincial governments to ensure strict price monitoring and remain vigilant that no supply disruption of commodities in the markets takes place.

The meeting of the committee was held here under the chairmanship of Special Secretary Finance Noor Ahmed at the Finance Division.

The chairman informed the forum that there is a lot of flux that characterizes the world economy at present, emerging markets are facing uncertainty, their currencies have devalued significantly, and crude oil price has crossed $85 barrel and are estimated to hit $90.

The meeting was informed that Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 5.60 percent during Jul-September FY 2019 compared to 3.39 percent of the same period last year.

The core inflation increased by 8.0 percent in September 2018 as compared to 5.4 percent in the comparable month of last year. The trend is alarming and signals rising inflation in coming months.

The committee observed the rising Sensitive Price Index (SPI) trend over the last six weeks. The Weekly SPI which monitors the price movement of 53 essential items recorded an increase of 3.65 percent on October 11, 2018.

The meeting also reviewed the prices of essential items in sasta bazaars and open markets and noted that the prices are significantly lower in sasta bazaars as compared to open markets.

The chair emphasized that in case if the provincial governments and other stakeholders see any shortage of essential consumer items they should immediately report to the NPMC committee so that the federal government takes appropriate measures. He also asked the Competition Commission
of Pakistan to remain vigilant that no cartelization takes place.

In view of difficult times ahead the meeting decided as under:-

The provincial governments will fully activate price monitoring and control mechanism at district level and below to ensure price stability.

The provincial governments and federal government will ensure adequate supply of commodities to avoid supply disruption and consequent price hike.

The district governments will launch a campaign as and when necessary to stop hoarding of commodities for price manipulation.

In case of any expected shortfall in production of agriculture commodities, the relevant forum will be intimated for taking necessary action.

The provinces should focus on oil-seed crops and pulses cultivation to reduce the import bill.

It was also emphasized that provincial governments and ICT administration to extend the coverage of sasta/itwar bazaars so that common man may get the commodities at reasonable price.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Law and Justice, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Planning Development and Reforms, Inter Provincial Coordination, Statistics Division, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utility Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.

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