ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday expressed concern over the increasing prices of milk powder and advised Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to eliminate undue profit margin.

The National Price Monitoring Committee meeting, which was held here and was chaired by Ishaq Dar , also took note of rising prices of potatoes.

The minister urged the provincial governments to be more vigilant in controlling the prices. He also directed the concerned federal ministries to take necessary measures in this regard. “We must nip the evil in the bud,” he stressed.

“We should look into the canning of tomatoes paste in order to ensure continuous supply of tomatoes in the market,” Dar asserted.

He also asked CCP to check the increasing trend of meat and mutton prices going up, and disclose the findings in the next meeting so that corrective measures could be taken.

Taking notice of rising prices of pulses, Dar asked the Ministry of Food Security and Research to increase the supply of pulses in the market in order to arrest the situation.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, officials of Ministries of Industries, Law and Justice, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Interior, Planning Development and Reforms, Inter Provincial Coordination, Statistics Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utilities Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.

The meeting was informed that the headline inflation measured by CPI had been contained at 2.86 percent in FY 2016 as compared to 8.62 percent in FY 2014 and 4.53 percent in FY 2015.

“The inflation recorded in FY 2016 is the lowest in 47 years,” it was told. The CPI in July 2016 inched to 4.1 percent as compared to 1.9 percent in July last year.

The meeting noted the weekly trend of SPI which has been monitoring the prices of 53 items since July 2015 and found out the prices of more than 50 percent items stable.

The meeting further reviewed the prices of essential items and observed that the prices of Wheat Flour, Rice Basmati Broken, Rice Irri-6, Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil, Vegetable Ghee (tin and loose), Bananas, Moong Pulse and Onion decreased as compared to last year

Similarly, it observed that the prices of Wheat, Beef, Mutton, Milk Fresh, Powdered Milk , Mash Pulse, Gram Pulse, Sugar, Red Chillies and Garlic had increased.

The meeting noted with satisfaction that the poultry prices had declined as compared to the last year, and were now stable on account of government policies.

The meeting also reviewed the prices in sasta bazaar and open market and noted that these were much lower as compared to the open market. Dar called upon the people to benefit from these bazaars.

The meeting also looked at the comparison between prices of 22 essential commodities in Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka and identified nine items, including wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, petrol, diesel, rice basmati, vegetable ghee, moong and mash pulses whose prices were lower in Pakistan compared with New Delhi and Dhaka, while nine items, including beef, tomatoes, eggs,  fresh milk , sugar, mutton, red chillies, onion and gram pulse were the second lowest in prices, and the prices of only five items, such as potatoes, masoor pulse, DAP, tea and urea were higher.

The meeting also noted international prices movement of essential commodities and found no abnormal price behaviour.