Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Govt committed to build strategic reserves of essential commodities: Tarin


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has presided over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division, ARY News reported on Monday.

Secretary Finance briefed the meeting about the slight uptick in weekly SPI, which increased by 0.03 per cent during the week under review. Prices of 06 items witnessed a decline and 22 remained stable.

The committee also reviewed the monthly inflation trend and noted that the CPI, which is 8.4% for July 2021 has declined by 1.3% as compared to the last month i.e. 9.7% in June 2021.

The National Price Monitoring Committee also reviewed the prices of wheat, sugar, pulses, chicken and other essential food items in the country.

The Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research updated the committee about the wheat procurement process and apprised that an order for the purchase of 220,000 tons of wheat has already been placed.

While taking stock of the situation, the NPMC directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to take immediate steps for the import of 02 million tons of wheat to ensure adequate stocks of the wheat in the country.

Similarly, the Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC about the efforts underway for the import of 600,000 tons of sugar for maintaining buffer stocks. The tendering process has been initiated and adequate stocks of sugar will be available in the country until the next sugar season, he added.

The NPMC directed the Ministry of Industries & Production to expedite the tendering process and update the committee on a weekly basis.

The Finance Minister reiterated the firm commitment of the government in building strategic reserves of essential commodities (sugar, wheat, pulses, edible oil/ghee etc) to ensure price stability and prevent undue profiteering and hoarding. The strategic reserves would ensure the timely availability of basic commodities to bridge the gap between supply and demand.

To this effect, the Finance Minister directed the ministry of food security to come up with a firm plan and place it before the committee for discussion and requisite approval.

The Secretary Finance briefed the meeting on the prices of petroleum products in the neighbouring countries. The committee commended that the per-unit cost of petrol and electricity is the cheapest in Pakistan as compared to the regional economies.

The government has absorbed the pressure in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers.

While reviewing the prices, Tarin directed the Petroleum Division to analyse the impact of the current escalation in LNG prices on the consumption of other fuels in order to look for alternatives and ensure the availability of sufficient stocks.

In his concluding remarks, Shaukat Tarin highlighted the rising trend in international commodity prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic and underscored the efforts being made for keeping the prices of essential items in check.

He further stated that any assistance, financial or otherwise, needed in this regard will be provided to the respective provincial administrations and departments concerned for effective monitoring and to lessen the burden of price fluctuation due to international price hikes.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, SAPM National Food Security & Research Jamshed Cheema, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary Commerce, Additional Secretary M/o PD&SI, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Chairman CDA and other senior officers participated in the meeting.


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