Finance Minister Directs to Review Entire Supply Chain From Farmer to End-Consumer

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division today.

The NPMC reviewed the price trends of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken, eggs and vegetables during the last week. The Secretary Finance briefed the Committee about the decline in weekly SPI by 0.40% whereas prices of 13 items recorded a decline and 26 items remained stable. The prices of essential commodities including tomatoes, onions, sugar, potatoes, and poultry were reduced during the week under review.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics briefed the Finance Minister about data collection methodology and updated on the recent changes incorporated to reflect price variation between wholesale and retail levels across different cities. The Finance Minister emphasized extending the market coverage by including more cities and local areas including Ramadan Saasta/Sahulat Bazaars. The data must represent and reflect prevailing price trends accurately, he stressed.

The Finance Minister also directed to review the entire supply chain from farmer to end-consumer for minimizing the difference between wholesale and retail prices for basic commodities with a view to ensure that farmer is paid well and the consumer gets the maximum relief.

During the meeting, the Finance Minister sought a briefing from the representatives of the Provincial Governments regarding the efficacy of Ramadan Saasta Bazaars which have been set up to provide maximum relief to the masses during the holy month. The Provincial administrations reported that by and large, the response has been very encouraging as people were making regular purchases and taking benefit of reduced prices of basic commodities.

The Finance Minister urged the respective Provincial Administrations to chalk out a firm plan for strict monitoring of prices and availability of stock of basic commodities at Ramadan Saasta Bazaars to facilitate the general public in Eid shopping which largely takes place during the last week of Ramadan. He further directed the Provincial Governments to keep the prices of basic commodities in check during the Eid holidays.

The MD, USC updated the NPMC that all basic commodities are well-stocked across the chain of USC outlets including wheat flour, sugar, ghee and pulses (at subsidized prices) in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister. The MD further informed that maximum buying across USC outlets takes place during the second half of the day. He requested the general public to visit Utility Stores outlets during morning hours to avoid large queues.

The Finance Minister stressed the need to ensure the availability of basic commodities at USCs throughout the country and urged people to benefit from the Mobile Utility Stores facility amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister underscored the importance of maintaining strategic reserves of essential commodities and directed the Provincial governments and departments concerned to work out estimates and procure wheat and sugar in a smooth and timely manner.