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Vegetable exports hit record high of 82.88%

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Wednesday reviewed the prices of wheat, sugar, pulses, chicken and other essential food items in the country.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin presided over the meeting held at the Finance Division.

The finance secretary briefed the meeting about the situation of the weekly Sensitive Price indicator (SPI), which has registered an increase of 1.81 per cent during the week under review.

The finance secretary said the prices of six essential commodities registered a decline, whereas the prices of 15 items remained stable last week, he added.

The finance secretary also apprised the meeting that the prices of essential commodities registered a decline, compared with the same period last year.

The prices of moong pulse and onion registered a decline during the week.

The NPMC also emphasised on building strategic reserves of moong pulse and providing incentives to the farmers to produce maash pulse domestically to lessen the import dependence.

The meeting was also informed that the prices of wheat flour bags remained constant at Rs1,100/20kg bag due to the proactive measures of the Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments and ICT administration.

Tarin commended the efforts of the government of Punjab, KP and Islamabad administration and expressed concern over the significant price difference of wheat flour in Sindh and Balochistan, compared with other provinces.

He advised the provincial chief secretaries of Sindh and Balochistan to increase the daily releases of wheat to improve the supply situation in the markets and make efforts to bring the prices of wheat at the lower level.

The Sindh chief secretary briefed the meeting that the provincial government is taking all possible measures to control wheat price in the province by timely releasing the stocks.

The Ministry of Food secretary briefed the NPMC about the sufficient availability of wheat stock with the provinces and Passco.

Reviewing the sugar price in the country, the finance secretary said the prices are easing out in Punjab, KP and Islamabad due to the start of the sugarcane crushing and proactive measures of the government.

The advisor expressed concern on the high prices of sugar at retail level in Sindh and Balochistan, despite the start of crushing.

The Ministry of Industries and Production secretary said the sugar mills in Sindh and Punjab have started production; hence, with the arrival of the new stocks of sugar in the market, the prices will be lower in the coming days.

Reviewing the prices of edible oil, the NMPC observed that the increase in prices of edible oil in the global market has affected the local prices.

Similarly, seasonal factor has affected the prices of chicken and eggs. The meeting took notice of higher prices of vegetable ghee in Sasta Bazaar of KP and directed the KP chief secretary to take necessary corrective measures to ease out the prices.

The adviser emphasised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to accelerate the monitoring of supply side of edible oil effectively to keep the prices stable.

Observing the stock position of fertilisers, Tarin directed the provincial governments to take strict action against the hoarders and prevent the shortage of the commodity.

The NPMC observed that Sastaa and Sahulat Bazaars in Punjab are offering essential goods at subsidised rates. The adviser commended the efforts of the government of Punjab and Islamabad administration in providing key items at discounted prices through arranging Sastaa Bazaars.

Tarin also said that the government has firm commitment to prevent hoarding; therefore, a whistleblower law against the hoarders would be introduced and enforced soon.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, federal secretaries, CCP chairperson, Utility Stores Corporation managing director, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) chairman, provincial chief secretaries, PBS chief statistician and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

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