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Saturday November 27, 2021

Punjab to start cane crushing by Nov 15; Sindh told to follow suit

October 28, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Sugarcane crushing in Punjab is officially slated to kickoff by mid of next month, while Shaukat Tarin, Adviser to PM on Finance & Revenue, has tasked Sindh to follow Punjab’s suit at the earliest.

Tarin launched these directives at the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting held at the Finance Division under his chair on Wednesday.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister of State on Information Farrukh Habib, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Federal Secretaries, MD Utility Stores, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Chief Statistician PBS, Chairperson CCP, Member FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Chief Secretary, Punjab informed the NPMC meeting that the crushing of sugarcane would begin by November 15 in Punjab.

Responding to this, Tarin directed the Chief Secretary Sindh to ensure the crushing of sugarcane to start as soon as possible to ensure stable price of sugar across the country. The adviser further directed all provincial governments to finalise the indicative price of sugarcane at the earliest. The Secretary Finance briefed the NPMC the weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI) increased 1.38 percent last week. While reviewing the price trend of essential commodities, the Secretary Finance said the rise in global food commodities and petroleum prices affected the prices of essential food items worldwide.

Finance secretary said prices of seven essential commodities registered decline, whereas that of 15 items remained stable during the last week.

He updated the NPMC the prices of the wheat flour bags remained consistent at Rs1,100/20 kg due to the proactive measures of the Punjab government and ICT administration. Tarin expressed deep concern over the significant differential in the wheat flour prices in Sindh compared to other provinces. He directed the Chief Secretary of Sindh to expedite the process of daily releases of wheat at the price determined by the government to ease out pressure on prices.

The adviser reiterated the government’s firm commitment to ensure smooth supply of wheat flour across the country at government-specified price. While reviewing the price trend of basic commodities, Tarin said the government was taking a range of administrative, policy and relief measures to absorb the upward pressure on prices of basic food commodities globally.

Tarin also directed Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to draw a province-wise comparison of weekly SPI.

The decision has been taken to analyse the price differential in SPI among Provinces to differentiate the individual Province’s efforts. The Chief Secretary Balochistan highlighted the need for expanding Utility Stores Corporation outlets and establishing cold storages facilities in the province.

The finance adviser directed the concerned ministries to coordinate with the Balochistan government to expedite the matter.

Minister of State on Information stressed the need to increase the footfall at Sasta Bazars, to make sure the benefit to reach maximum number of people. Tarin directed the provincial governments to devise the strategies for the same. In his concluding remarks, the adviser said the government was taking all possible measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country.