-Hafeez urges stakeholders to curb inflation
By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Advisor to PM on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Monday chaired a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at Finance Division to review the prices of essential perishable commodities. The meeting was attended by Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Adviser to PM on Institutional reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary NFS&R, Secretary Planning, Secretary Ministry of Industries & Production, Chief Secretaries from Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Balochistan, Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan and representatives from Utility Stores and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The NPMC deliberated upon increase in the prices of wheat, sugar and perishable items namely Tomatoes, Onions, Potatoes and Chicken and discussed corrective measures to provide relief to the end consumers. It was stated by the concerned Ministries that the reasons behind the price hike include gap in supply and demand due to climatic factors, upward trend in international prices and increased profit margin between wholesale & retailers particularly in metropolitan areas. There was a general consensus that recent rains and COVID-19 have further aggravated the situation.
Adviser Finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, urged all the stakeholders to take drastic measures to curb inflation. In this regard, the role of district market committees was emphasized to curb price variation effectively. The Chief Secretaries were directed to minimize price disparity by streamlining the release of wheat at regular intervals to avoid profiteering.
NPMC also reviewed the timeline for import of wheat and sugar to meet domestic demand for the same. Adviser Finance was briefed that the total public sector procurement for wheat through G2G and TCP is equal to 1.8 MT based on the demand estimates provided by the Provinces and PASSCO. It was also stated that sufficient sugar stocks are available in the country till Nov., 2020. Adviser Finance also directed Utility Stores to streamline the availability of essential items in order to provide maximum relief to the lowest strata of the society.
Advisor Finance expressed confidence that effective and well-concerted actions by the Provincial Governments and the concerned Ministries will help in controlling the menace of inflation.