ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin here on Wednesday underlined the need for researching on alternatives to minimize the dependency on imports of palm oil and soyabean.
Chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting here, the federal minister also asked for devising a strategic plan for meeting the demand of these commodities.
The minister directed the Balochistan authorities to ensure stability in the prices of wheat flour by maintaining the daily release of wheat to flour mills and asked the relevant authorities to analyze and estimate wheat stocks closely.
The minister also directed Ministry of Commerce to formulate a viable plan for price determination of potatoes. He directed the Ministry of Commerce to formulate a viable plan for price determination of potatoes while the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) was asked to expedite process to formulate forecasting unit for major and minor crops for timely decision making.
On the occasion, he commended the efforts being undertaken for stabilizing the prices of essential items successfully and measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country.
Earlier, Economic Adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which witnessed increase of 0.04% as compared to increase in previous week by 0.51%. As many as 33 food items contributed increase in the SPI by 0.32%, whereas 18 non-food items contributed decrease of 0.28% to the SPI. NPMC was informed that prices of 19 items remained stable in the last week while the prices of 13 items decreased contributing decline in SPI by 1.16%. The items which contributed in decline included petrol (0.53%), eggs (0.11%), tomatoes by (0.51%) and others by (0.01%). Prices of 19 items slightly increased that led to increase in SPI by 1.20%. These included chicken (0.34%), fresh milk (0.25%), LPG (0.23%) and others (0.38%).
NPMC was informed that tomatoes, eggs, hi-speed diesel, petrol super, garlic, pulse moog, pulse masoor, onions, wheat flour bag, sugar, potatoes, pulse mash, gur and chillies powder have shown decline in the prices during the last week. It was informed that prices of onion are lowest as compared to its prices 3 years earlier.
The NPMC was updated on the wheat flour prices in the country while the Secretary Ministry of NFS&R informed on the stock position of wheat and further apprised on the future requirements and the strategy for sustainable availability of wheat in the country. The committee was also apprised on the sugar prices in the country and Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the meeting on the process for building strategic reserves of sugar in the country to maintain stability in prices. Sugar price is at Rs. 89 again with a decline of -0.3% which is highly plausible.
NPMC was also briefed on the prices of pulses in the country and was informed that there was stability in price of Gram pulse, while price of Moong pulse decreased by Rs. 6 per kg during last six weeks. Price of Mash pulse decreased by Rs. 3 per kg during last six weeks and price of Masoor pulse decreased by Rs. 2 per kg during last six weeks.
It was apprised that prices of eggs decreased by Rs. 32 per dozen during last 6 weeks and overall there is improvement in market supply of eggs, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
The price of potatoes has decreased by Rs. 4 per kg during last 6 weeks while there has been increase in the price of chicken due to supply disruptions. These disruptions are linked with sudden increase in demand of chicken, but it was ensured that the prices of chicken will be back to normal price in near future.
On the prices of palm oil and Soybean in the country, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production informed the meeting on available stocks of edible oil. The Finance Minister asked for researching on alternatives to minimize the dependency on import of these products and asked for devising a strategic plan for meeting the demand. It was informed that sufficient amount of stock of Soybean and Palm oil were available to meet the arising demand in the country. The meeting also discussed Fertilizer situation and was informed that there is no shortage of fertilizers and urea in the country. Ministry of Industries and Production in consultation with M/o NFS&R and provincial governments has been asked to make a plan for provision of subsidy for DAP to farmers before the upcoming Kharif season.
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