OMAP: PDS system to impact country’s economy

ISLAMABAD – National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Wednesday held rise in international prices of food commodities and crude oil responsible for the increase in inflation rate, which touched four months highest level in October.

Inflation rate has climbed to four months highest level of 9.2 per cent in the month of October mainly due to the massive increase in oil prices and continuous depreciation in the local currency. The NPMC met under the chair of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin. Economic Adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about year-on-year and month-on-month inflation indicators. There is a slight increase in year-on-year CPI equal to 9.2% as compared to 8.9% last year. The increase in CPI is due to rise in international prices of food commodities and crude oil. The government made an all-out effort to absorb the bulk of the hike in international prices by providing direct food subsidy on wheat flour, sugar and pulses.

The NPMC noted a significant differential in year-on-year prices of seasonal vegetables. Price of onions is Rs.47 per kg as compared to Rs.74 per kg last year. Similarly, price of tomatoes is Rs.104 per kilo whereas it was Rs.198 per kilo last year. However, week-on-week increase in price of seasonal vegetables namely potatoes, tomatoes in Punjab province was due to supply side disruptions caused by the Dharna by TLP. The Economic Adviser further updated the NPMC about the stability in prices of pulses during the week under review.

The Secretary M/o NFS and R updated the NPMC about sufficient availability of wheat flour across the country. The stock of wheat will last longer before the arrival of the fresh crop, he added.

The NPMC expressed deep concern over the significant price differential in the key commodities namely wheat flour, sugar etc. in Sindh province as compared to the other provinces. The Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue advised the provincial representative of the Sindh government to expedite the process of daily releases of wheat at the price determined by the Government to ease out pressure on prices. The adviser also directed the Chief Secretary Punjab to provide sugar to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in order to stabilize prices of sugar in the Province. The NPMC urged the government of Sindh to finalize the indicative price of sugarcane at the earliest.

The NPMC observed that Sastaa Sahulat Bazars in Punjab are offering essential goods at subsidized prices. The Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue commended the efforts of the representatives of the Punjab government and Islamabad administration in providing key items at discounted prices through a network of Sastaa Bazars and urged the respective provincial government to make similar requisite arrangements to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities at fair prices throughout the country.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Secretaries, Economic Adviser Finance, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Managing Director USCs, Chief Statistician, and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

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