The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) informed the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) that the commission was chalking out a uniform formula for the pricing of essential food items to remove price disparity among districts in consultation with the stakeholders.
A meeting of the NPMC was held with Finance secretary in the chair to discuss the prices of essential food and stock of supply of the essential items.
The CCP chairperson informed that they were holding a meeting in the second week of this month with all the stakeholders to discuss Food Laws and to develop a uniform formula for pricing to remove price disparity among districts.
The Chair emphasized that the provincial government should play a proactive role in checking hoarding and undue profiteering to ensure smooth supply of essential food items at reasonable prices.
The meeting discussed the trend of Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a headline measure of inflation. It has been observed that prices of food items such as pulses, fresh vegetables, and wheat which have been the main top drivers of inflation saw a downward trend on a monthly basis.
The meeting was informed that CPI inflation decreased by 1.0% on MoM in February 2020 over January 2020. However, on YoY, recorded at 12.4% in February 2020 over February 2019 and July-February CPI inflation on YoY reached 11.7% (6.0% last year). It was stated by the Secretary Finance that the government is committed to reducing inflation and more steps are underway in the coming months.
It was noticed that Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) which monitors the price movement of 51 essential items on weekly basis recorded a decrease of 1.16% for the week ended on 27th February, 2020. During the week, 13 items recorded decline in their prices while 25 items remain stable. This was the third consecutive decline in SPI during the month of February 2020.
The Committee also discussed the price movements of these items among the provinces/ICT and observed variations in the price level. The provincial governments also informed that they are proactively monitoring the prices as well as the supply of essential food items. Price trend in the international market is on a declining trend which would augur well for domestic prices in the near future.
The meeting also discussed the outbreak of novel coronavirus and its impact on demand and supply of essential items. The Chair advised that all relevant authorities along with provincial governments should closely coordinate to monitor the provision of essential food items at affordable prices keeping in view the forthcoming Ramadan. He further stressed to check the undue profit margin exists between the wholesale and the retail level, which should be prevented.
The meeting held at the Finance Division was attended by the representatives from the Provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Interior, Law & Justice & Human Rights, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security and Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and Utility Stores Corporation.