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April 13, 2021

NMPC takes notice of higher wheat flour prices in Sindh

Business

April 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday took notice of ‘significantly’ higher wheat flour prices in Sindh compared to other provinces, seeking measures to control prices of flour and sugar during Ramazan.

The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) said prices of 20kg wheat flour bags are significantly higher in Sindh: Rs1,200 in Karachi and Rs1,230 in Hyderabad compared to Rs964 in Peshawar, Rs960 in Quetta, Rs864 in Islamabad and Rs860 in Lahore.

Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production Hammad Azhar asked the representative of the Sindh government to explain why prices were higher and what measures had been taken to control rising prices of wheat flour.

Azhar urged the provincial governments to take strict administrative measures to ensure smooth supply of sugar at fair prices during Ramazan.

The finance minister emphasised the need for mobilising district administrations and departments concerned to curtail profiteering and hoarding through smooth supply of basic commodities at affordable prices throughout the country.

Sindh government’s representative said higher procurement price set by the province (at Rs2,000 / 40kg) was the reason for higher flour prices in Sindh as compared to other provinces and no effective price control strategy had yet been formulated in the province.

The ministry of food security briefed the committee about the sufficient stock of wheat across the country. The provinces were asked regarding procurement targets and nationwide market prices of wheat flour.

Punjab government’s representative said 313 Ramazan / sahulat bazaars have been established to provide maximum relief to the consumers by offering basic commodities at discounted prices.

Provincial governments were asked to establish sufficient number of Ramazan bazaars to ensure provision of basic need items at affordable prices across the board.

The NPMC was apprised about the arrangements being made to ensure uninterrupted supply of basic commodities namely wheat flour, rice, pulses, sugar, vegetable ghee and others at subsidized prices under the Ramazan relief package across its chain of outlets throughout the country. Utility Stores Corporation was asked to firm up a plan to ensure all the basic items are well-stocked and available to the masses at discounted prices. The committee was informed that the finance division had released requisite funds and would facilitate further to enable utility stores to replenish its stock (as needed) during Ramazan.

The committee also reviewed the prices and supply position of sugar across all provinces. The additional secretary industries and production briefed the committee about continuous downward trend in international prices of sugar which will reduce the upward pressure on sugar prices in domestic markets.

The committee reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, chicken, eggs and vegetables during the last week. The committee was briefed about the weekly sensitive price indicator. Prices of 13 basic commodities registered a decline and 20 items remained stable during the week under review. Essential commodities, including flour, sugar, eggs and pulses recorded declines of 0.7, 3, 1.4, and 0.5 percent, respectively due to improved availability. Non-food items including liquified petroleum gas and electricity charges also recorded declines of 2.3 and 1.3 percent.