ISLAMABAD-The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) has directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to play a proactive role to check cartelisation and other anti-market practices.

The NPMC meeting was held here at the Finance Division with Additional Finance Secretary (Exp) in the chair to discuss the price trend of essential food items. The chair advised the relevant authorities and the provincial governments to ensure smooth supply of essential food items at affordable prices and remove price disparity. Earlier, the meeting was informed that CPI inflation on year on year basis was recorded at 8.6 % in June 2020 over June 2019 and July-June CPI inflation on average rose to 10.7%. It was noted that inflation had been on declining trend till May 2020 but had been slightly up during the month of June 2020. It was also observed that price trend in international market was also following a rising trend on account of higher demand due to ease of lockdown conditions.

The meeting was told that the government in consultation with all stakeholders was taking proactive measures to control the general price level of daily use items at the federal, provincial and district levels. It was noticed that the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which monitors the price movement of 51 essential items on weekly basis, had recorded an increase of 0.98% for the week ended on 09th July, 2020.

The chair discussed the rise in prices of poultry products with all stakeholders and also examined the demand and supply dynamics. Provincial governments and ICT were directed to take necessary measures to ensure smooth supply of poultry products at reasonable prices. The pre-Covid and post-Covid prices of face masks, sanitizers and oxygen cylinder also came under discussion. The provinces and ICT Administration were asked to take necessary measures for provision of such items at reasonable prices.

The role of middle men was also discussed in detail being responsible for increase in general price level of commodities and need to check the high profit margins. The chair also appreciated the ICT, Sindh and Punjab governments for online delivery system of essential food items on wholesale prices at the doorstep of consumer. The chair stressed that the same may be extended to other districts of the provinces. The chair also urged that this model should be replicated by the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Interior, Commerce, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security & Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.