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Provincial govt’s help sought to check price hike

By Our Correspondent
October 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee on Wednesday sought assistance from the provincial governments to control price hikes in the country, in view of the double-digit inflation forecast by the International Monetary Fund.

The committee, at a meeting presided over by the special secretary finance, said if the provincial governments and other stakeholders see any shortage of essential consumer items they should immediately report to the committee “so that the federal government takes appropriate measures”. The Competition Commission of Pakistan was also asked to remain vigilant to check cartelisation.

The meeting decided that the provincial governments would activate price monitoring and control mechanism at district level and below to ensure price stability. It was decided that the provincial governments and federal government would ensure adequate supply of commodities to avoid supply disruption and consequent price hike.

“The district government will launch a campaign as and when necessary to stop hoarding of commodities for price manipulation,” a finance ministry’s statement said. “In case of any expected shortfall in production of agriculture commodities, the relevant forum will be intimated for taking necessary action.” The provinces were asked to focus on oilseed crops and pulses cultivation to reduce the import bill.

It was also emphasised that provincial governments and information communication and technology administration should extend the coverage of sasta/itwar bazaars so that common man may get the commodities at reasonable price. The meeting was told that rising inflation is a challenge.

Provincial governments were asked to adhere to strict price monitoring and remain vigilant that no supply disruption of commodities in the markets takes place. “The main reason for the rise is increase in international crude oil prices,” the statement added.

“A combination of factors such as strong domestic demand, which is also visible from pressure on external and fiscal side, possible lagged impact of recent upward adjustment in gas prices, exchange rate depreciation are contributing to recent pickup in inflation.”

The meeting also reviewed the prices of essential items in sasta bazaars and open markets and noted that the prices are significantly lower in sasta bazaars as compared to open markets.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provinces, ministries of industries, law and justice, commerce, national food security and research, planning development and reforms, inter provincial coordination, statistics division, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utility Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.