NPMC Directs Provinces to Release Wheat at Federal Govt Rates

The National Price Control Committee (NPMC) has directed the provinces to ensure the release of wheat to the flour mills at the rates fixed by the federal government.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Shaukat Tarin presided over the NPMC meeting held at the Finance Division.

The Secretary Finance briefed the participants that the upsurge in international food prices was affecting the domestic prices as Pakistan was a net importer of staple food items, namely wheat, sugar, and ghee, etc. He said the international price hike was due to a fall in global food production and high consumer demand in addition to the supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reviewing the prevailing ghee prices, the Finance Minister directed the Chairman FBR to formulate a strategy to ensure a measurable impact on the prices of ghee/edible oil in the domestic markets. He said the volatile prices of edible oil in the international market pushed up the local prices of ghee/vegetable in the country. There is a need to have a sliding scale to link up prices of ghee in local markets with international markets, he added.

While taking stock of the weekly calculation of Sensitive Price Indicator, the Finance Minister urged the Member PBS to review its methodology and extend coverage by including the footprint of Saasta/Itwar Bazaars in the mainstream cities where upward pressure on prices of food items was absorbed by providing food items at subsidized rates. At present, the significant price differential between wholesale and retail prices in Sasta Sahulat Bazaars is not covered by PBS.

NPMC directed the Chief Secretaries of all the provinces to resume daily release of wheat at the price determined by the federal government to ensure a smooth supply of wheat at affordable prices across the country. The release price for wheat is Rs. 1950 per 40-kg.

Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed the Committee on the arrangements being made to import sugar with respective timelines. NPMC directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab to make requisite arrangements to lift the imported sugar stock at the earliest and ensure a smooth supply of sugar to other provinces and the chain of Utility Stores Corporation (USCs) as per demand. The Committee directed the provincial governments to ensure the sale of sugar in the market at the price fixed by the government.

The Special Assistant on Food Security told the NPMC that a detailed strategy will be presented before NPMC to build strategic reserves of pulses as well as perishable commodities in order to stabilize prices of the items of daily use. The detailed strategy will also include the provision of enabling infrastructure including agri-malls, storage facilities, and commodity warehouses.

He also mentioned the plan to purchase pulses from farmers through Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (PASSCO) and Food Department to supply pulses at lower prices through USCs to the consumers and also specified bazaars. Moreover, the Special Assistant underlined growing sugar beet as an additional crop to ensure a steady supply of sugar at a fair price throughout the year.

Among others, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Petroleum, Secretary Ministry of Industries & Production, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory, Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security Jamshed Cheema joined the meeting through a video link.

Faiz Paracha is a seasoned broadcast journalist with over 15 years’ experience in reporting and e...