ISLAMABAD, Apr 26 (APP):Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin on Monday underscored the importance of maintaining strategic reserves of essential commodities, directing the provincial governments and concerned departments to work out estimates for timely and smooth procurement of wheat and sugar.
The Minister was chairing the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division.
The minister emphasized the need for improving data collection methodology and urged for extending the market coverage by adding more cities and local areas including Ramadan Saasta and Sahulat Bazaars.
The data must represent and reflect prevailing price trends accurately, he stressed.
The Finance Minister also directed to review the entire supply chain from farmer to end-consumer for minimizing difference between wholesale and retail prices of basic commodities with a view to ensure farmer is paid well and consumer gets the maximum relief.
He also urged the respective provincial administrations to chalk out a firm plan for strict monitoring of prices and availability of stock of basic commodities at Ramadan Saasta Bazaars to facilitate general public in Eid shopping, which largely takes place during the last week of Ramadan.
He further directed the provincial governments to keep the prices of basic commodities in check during the Eid holidays.
The Finance Minister stressed the need to ensure availability of basic commodities at USCs throughout the country and urged people to benefit from the Mobile Utility Stores facility amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister sought briefing from the representatives of the provincial governments regarding efficacy of Ramadan Saasta Bazaars which have been setup to provide maximum relief to the masses during the holy month.
Earlier, the NPMC reviewed the price trends of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken, eggs and vegetables during the last week.
The Secretary Finance briefed the committee about the decline in weekly SPI by 0.40% whereas prices of 13 items recorded a decline and 26 items remained stable.
Price of essential commodities including tomatoes, onions, sugar, potatoes and poultry were reduced during the week under review.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) briefed the minister about data collection methodology and updated on the recent changes incorporated to reflect price variation between wholesale and retail levels across different cities.
The provincial administrations reported that by and large, the response has been very encouraging as people were making regular purchases and taking benefit of reduced prices of basic commodities.
On the occasion , the MD, USC updated the NPMC that all basic commodities are well-stocked across the chain of USC outlets including wheat flour, sugar, ghee and pulses (at subsidized prices) in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister.
The MD further informed that maximum buying across USC outlets takes place during the second half of the day. He requested the general public to visit Utility Stores outlets during morning hours to avoid large queues.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood; Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood; Secretary Finance Division; Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research;
Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Joint Secretary Ministry Industries and Production, MD Utility Stores Corporation, senior representatives of the provincial governments, member PBS and other senior officers of Finance Division.