ISLAMABAD    -    Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday directed the provincial governments to launch crackdown against profiteers and hoarders and keep strict check on prices of daily use items.

Chairing a meeting to review the prices of eatables and control inflation at Prime Minister Office, the prime minister asked the provincial governments to take strict action against those creating artificial inflation. He said in order to end the monopoly of the profiteers and control the prices, it was essential to fully activate the Tehsil level market committees.

The meeting was attended by Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, special assistants to PM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Yousuf Baig Mirza, Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry, Punjab Agriculture Minister Noman Langrial and senior officials.

The meeting reviewed the measures taken by the Punjab, KP and Balchistan governments to regulate the supply and availability of wheat and fluctuation of the prices.

The prime minister was told that the Punjab and KP governments had taken satisfactory steps to store the wheat and control its price.

He directed the Economic Coordination Committee to furnish proposals and take immediate decisions including import of wheat and other administrative measures to stabilize the wheat and flour prices.

It was told that the flour prices had increased owing to the disturbance of the demand and supply chain as the Sindh government had not purchased wheat this year.

Taking notice of the matter, the prime minister directed the PASSCO to immediately release 100,000 tons of wheat to Sindh and 150,000 tons to KP provinces to ensure stability of wheat and flour prices in the market.

He said while acting against the hoarders, the provincial governments should ensure that the growers and farmers did not face any exploitation and the commission agents did not make undue profit.

He asked the provincial governments to launch mobile applications like ‘Darust Daam’ introduced by the capital administration to apprise the people of the prices of eatables on daily basis.

The prime minister also called for making the supply chain of eatables easy and transparent and asked the provincial administrations to come up with a coordinated mechanism in this regard.

He directed for early launch of a program to distribute flour bags among the poor people under Ehsaas Program.

The prime minister also directed the trade and commerce ministry to ensure availability of daily use items on utility stores across the country and maintain a strict check to avoid any shortage of the commodities.

The meeting also examined the shortage of seasonal vegetables, in what the prime minister called for considering all options including the timely import besides devising a coordinated strategy.