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Hafeez Shaikh directs provinces to keep check on food prices

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has directed the provincial governments to take immediate proactive steps to keep the prices of basic commodities in check.

While chairing a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) today, the adviser urged the representatives of the provincial governments to strictly monitor the difference between retail and wholesale prices in various commodities to ensure the availability of essential items for consumers at affordable prices.

Hafeez Shaikh held a detailed discussion with the provincial chief secretaries regarding the position of wheat and sugar stocks in their respective provinces. During the meeting, the advisor was informed that sufficient quantities were available across the country.

The NPMC reviewed the weekly price trend of essential commodities, vegetable ghee, wheat flour, sugar, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and chicken.

The finance secretary, while presenting the price trend of necessary commodities, told the meeting that according to the latest data issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, there was a reduction in the prices of wheat flour, sugar and onions, however, slight rise was recorded in the prices of tomatoes, potatoes and chicken across the country.

The meeting was also informed about the price variation among the provinces and the profit margin between wholesale and retail.

On the occasion, the Sindh chief secretary informed the gathering that flour and sugar prices have got down in the province. The Sindh government has set up fair price shops to ensure relief to the people he informed.

However, the chief secretary added, the prices of chicken were on the rise, for which they were taking curative steps accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Punjab additional chief secretary said that the prices of tomatoes were fluctuating due to seasonal factors, but they would stabilize in the coming weeks.

The prices in 360 Sahulat Bazars were low as compared to the open market, adding that the flour price has stabilized as the Punjab government was releasing wheat as per the policy, he briefed the meeting.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary said that they were releasing 5,000 tonnes of wheat on a daily basis, owing to which the prices of flour bags have come down Rs20-Rs30 in the market.

He informed that local production of tomatoes in KP has started reaching the market; it is expected that in coming weeks the supply of tomatoes would increase notably which would bring a significant reduction in the price.

Furthermore, Utility Stores Corporation MD apprised the meeting about the adequate stocks of sugar and wheat across Pakistan at a subsidized price.