NPMC Asks for Normalization in Prices of Essential Food Items

A meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) was held at the Finance Division with Additional Finance Secretary (Exp) in the chair to discuss the price trend of essential food items.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Interior, Commerce, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security & Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The chairman advised the relevant authorities and the provincial governments to ensure a smooth supply of essential food items at affordable prices and remove price disparity. He further directed the CCP to play a proactive role to check cartelization and other anti-market practices.

Earlier, the meeting was informed that CPI inflation year on year was recorded at 8.6% in June 2020 over June 2019 and July-June CPI inflation on average rose to 10.7%. It was noted that inflation had been declining till May 2020 but had slightly increased during June 2020. It was also observed that the price trend in the international market is also rising on account of higher demand due to ease in lockdown conditions.

The meeting was told that the government, in consultation with stakeholders, is taking proactive measures to control the general price level of daily use items at the federal, provincial, and district levels. It was noted that the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) which monitors the price movement of 51 essential items on weekly basis, had recorded an increase of 0.98% for the week ended on 9th July 2020.

The Chair discussed the rise in prices of poultry products with all stakeholders and also examined the demand and supply dynamics. Provincial governments and Islamabad were directed to take necessary measures to ensure a smooth supply of poultry products at reasonable prices. The pre-COVID and post-COVID prices of face masks, sanitizers, and oxygen cylinders also came under discussion. The provinces and ICT Administration was asked to take necessary measures for the provision of such items at reasonable prices.

The role of middlemen was also discussed as they are responsible for an increase in the prices of commodities in addition to the need to checking high profit margins. The Chair also appreciated Islamabad, Sindh, and Punjab governments for the online delivery system of essential food items on wholesale prices at the doorstep of consumers.

The Chair stressed that the same may be extended to other districts of the provinces and this model should be replicated by the Provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.