Saturday September 18, 2021

NPMC approves import of 2mln tonnes of wheat for buffer stocks

August 03, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday approved additional import of 2 million tonnes of wheat to reduce domestic flour prices amid tight local supplies.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division. Shaukat Tarin, minister for Finance and Revenue presided over the meeting. "While taking stock of the situation, the NPMC directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to take immediate steps for the import of 02 million tons of wheat to ensure adequate stocks of the wheat in the country," NPMC statement said.

The committee also reviewed the prices of wheat, sugar, pulses, chicken and other essential food items in the country. The food secretary updated the committee about the wheat procurement process. He apprised that order for purchase of 220,000 ton of wheat has already been placed.

Similarly, the Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC about the efforts underway for import of 600,000 tons of sugar for maintaining buffer stocks.

"The tendering process has been initiated and adequate stocks of sugar will be available in the country until the next sugar season," the statement said The NPMC directed the ministry of Industries & Production to expedite the tendering process and update committee on weekly basis.

Finance minister Tarin reiterated the firm commitment of the government in building strategic reserves of essential commodities to ensure price stability and prevent undue profiteering and hoarding.

The strategic reserves would ensure timely availability of basic commodities to bridge the gap between supply and demand. The minister directed food to come up with a firm plan and place before the committee for discussion and requisite approval.

Tarin also highlighted the rising trend in international commodity prices amid Covid pandemic and underscored the efforts being made for keeping the prices of essential items in check.

He further stated that any assistance, financial or otherwise, needed in this regard will be provided to the respective provincial administrations and departments concerned for effective monitoring and to lessen the burden of price fluctuation due to international price hike.

Secretary finance briefed the meeting about the slight uptick in weekly SPI, which increased by 0.03 percent during the week under review. Prices of 06 items witnessed a decline and 22 remained stable.

The committee also reviewed the monthly inflation trend and noted that the CPI, which is 8.4 percent for July 2021 has declined by 1.3 percent as compared to the last month i.e. 9.7 percent in June 2021.

The secretary finance briefed the meeting on the prices of petroleum products in the neighbouring countries. The committee commended that per unit cost of petrol and electricity are cheapest in Pakistan as compared to the regional economies.

The government has absorbed the pressure in order to provide maximum relief to the consumers. While reviewing the prices, the minister directed the Petroleum Division to analyze the impact of the current escalation in LNG prices on the consumption of other fuels in order to look for alternatives and ensure availability of sufficient stocks. Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood and other senior officers participated in the meeting.