The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will give top priority to the edible oil sector for the release of letters of credit (LCs) to ensure the availability of palm oil stocks in the market before Ramzan.
Sources told ProPakistani that the decision was taken during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud to review the availability of vegetable ghee/cooking oil and ensure adequate supplies and stable prices.
The Ministry of Industries and Production (MOI&P) Secretary apprised the forum about the availability of vegetable ghee/cooking oil in the markets.
The minister inquired about the status of previous directions especially the status of the LCs clearance issue from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The forum was told that as per information provided by the Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) on weekly basis around 60,000 metric tons (MT) quantity of palm oil was released in last week.
The representative of SBP informed that edible oil is on the priority list of SBP and they released the LCs according to the availability of dollars.
PVMA Chairman informed that due to the release of palm oil stock last week, the prices of ghee are coming down in the wholesale market and it is expected to come down further.
On the availability of stocks of vegetable ghee and cooking oil in provinces, the provincial representatives informed that sufficient stocks are available in provinces and prices of local brands are coming down. Provincial authorities are continuously monitoring the supply, stock, and prices of ghee/oil in the market.
After detailed deliberations with all stakeholders, the following actions were deliberated: (i) SBP and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would ensure clearance of palm oil from the ports and also facilitate the import of palm oil through the expeditious opening/retiring of LCs. (ii) Ministry of Industries and Production will be getting the information on pending LCs from PVMA and share the same with SBP (bank-wise and company-wise) on regular basis. (iii) Provincial governments would ensure regular stock-taking of vegetable, ghee, and cooking oil and also price monitoring. (iv) The provincial governments would ensure effective action against elements involved in hoarding and profiteering. (v) The industry will rationalize the prices of vegetable ghee and cooking oil in the market and voluntarily reduce prices of ghee and cooking oil in view of imported palm oil supply and clearance of stocks.