ISLAMABAD             -           The federal government has asked the provinces to take strict action against hoarding, adulteration, smuggling, undue profiteering and to ensure uninterrupted supply of daily use items to masses at lower prices. 

Federal government has assured its cooperation for stability of prices in the country. The Utility Store Corporation was also instructed to ensure strict control on the quality of daily use items in their all outlets. National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting was held under the chairmanship of Special Finance Secretary Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna here at Finance Division to discuss the price trend of essential food items. Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation year on year was recorded at 8.2 percent in August 2020 as against 10.5 percent during the same month last year. The meeting also noted that average inflation during first two months (July and August) of the current fiscal year FY 2021 also showed declining trend and was recorded at 8.7 percent as compared to 9.4 percent same period last year. The NPMC noted that government in consultation with all stakeholders is proactively taking measures to control the general price level of daily use items at country level.

Provincial governments and ICT informed that they are regularly monitoring the prices and taking strict action against hoarding and undue profiteering. Government in consultation with all stakeholders is proactively taking measures to control the general price level of daily use items at federal, provincial and district levels.

The Committee also discussed the price movements of essential items among the provinces/ICT and observed variations in price level. It was decided that all provincial governments and ICT administration will take proactive measures to control the undue price hike of essential items. It was decided that provincial governments should provide information regarding the flood damages of minor and major crops to MNFS&R for timely response to any shortages. Ministries of Industries & Production and Commerce were directed to take prompt actions and provide necessary support to facilitate the import of essential food items. Ministry of National Food Security & Research was directed to keep an eye on the supply & demand of pulses and vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes and onion and take necessary measures such as timely import for the smooth availability of these items. It was also noted that profit margin between wholesale and retail is huge in items like apples, bananas, gram pulse, mash pulse, masoor pulse, garlic, tomatoes, onions. The chair urged that provincial governments and ICT to take corrective measures to check undue profit margin. The chair appreciated the PBS regarding sharing the provincial profit margin to provinces, ICT and also directed to share the detail of provincial markets to them in order to take strict action against profiteers. The IPC was also directed to coordinate in this matter so that consumers of each province may get relief to pay minimum margin.

While concluding the meeting, the chair emphasized the provision of essential commodities at affordable prices.

 The meeting was attended by representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Commerce, Law and Justice, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security & Research, Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) along with Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.