Govt mulls slashing pricey palm oil imports to make space for soybean

December 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government is exploring options to cut expensive palm oil purchases and increase soybean oil and sunflower oil imports after domestic cooking oil prices hit record high, an adviser...

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ISLAMABAD: The government is exploring options to cut expensive palm oil purchases and increase soybean oil and sunflower oil imports after domestic cooking oil prices hit record high, an adviser said on Wednesday.

“The adviser (on finance Shahukat Tarin) advised ministry of Industries and Production to … explor(e) alternative options for import of palm (oil) and Soya bean oil on lower prices in the international markets to reduce the pressure on prices in domestic market,’ said a statement issued after the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC).

Tarin, presided over the NPMC meeting. Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Farruk Habib and other senior officials attended the meeting.

The NPMC reviewed the prices of daily commodities and essential food items in the country.

The meeting observed that the increase in prices of edible oil in the global market especially imports from Malaysia and Indonesia has affected the local prices.

Malaysia's benchmark crude palm oil prices have gained more than 32 percent so far this year, hitting a record high of 5,220 ringgit ($1,236.38) a tonne on October 21, partly due to weak production caused by a shortage of labour during the pandemic.

Tarin advised officials to take measures to control high prices of edible oil in the local market.

Edible oil prices in the major retail markets across the country have increased 1.95 percent to over Rs400/liter in the week ended December 2. The secretary finance updated the NPMC that the prices of wheat flour bags remained consistent at Rs1,100/20kg “due to the proactive measures of the Punjab and KP governments and ICT administration”.

“The daily release of wheat by all the provincial governments will further ease out wheat prices at national level,” the statement said.

Secretary food apprised the meeting that sufficient stocks of wheat are available and market has witnessed stability due to regular and effective monitoring of wheat movement.

Chief secretary, Sindh apprised that the price of fine wheat flour is low in Sindh as compared to other provinces. On the consistent high price of wheat flour in Sindh, the adviser suggested for formation of effective mechanism to check the prices of wheat in the province and ensure availability on government rate.

While reviewing the price of sugar in the country, the secretary finance informed that prices are decreasing in the country. “New stocks of sugar are arriving in the market which will further reduce the prices.”

While reviewing the production of pulses in the country, it was informed that prices of pulses have shown an increase in the week ended on December 2.

On the stock position of fertilizers, NPMC was informed that prices have begun to decrease due to effective administrative measures. On the expansion of utility stores outlets in Baluchistan province, the meeting was informed that Utility Stores Corporation has expanded its operation with opening of 21 outlets in different cities and started mobile stores in areas where these stores are not available in the province.



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