Imam stresses on regular wheat releases to stabilise flour prices


Fakhar Imam presides over the meeting of NPMC
Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam has stressed upon the need to start daily release of wheat at the government notified price to ease pressure on prices of wheat flour throughout the country.
The food minister said this while presiding over the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division on Wednesday.
The economic adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about the increase in weekly SPI by 1.21 percent as compared to consecutive decline over the last two weeks. Prices of 21 items remained stable whereas 08 items registered a decline during the week under review, he said.
While taking stock of the situation, the NPMC observed that the price of a 20-kg bag of wheat flour was Rs1,100 in Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory due to daily release of wheat at the government specified price. However, the prices of wheat flour bags in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar remained in the range between Rs1,300 and Rs1,460 per bag.
The NPMC took strict notice of the price differential and urged the provincial governments of Sindh, KP and Balochistan to initiate daily releases on top priority.
The secretary food of Sindh informed NPMC that the government of Sindh will start daily release of wheat at the government notified price with effect from October 16, 2021. The NPMC commended the provincial government of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration for daily release of wheat which has stabilised the prices of wheat flour bags.
The secretary NFS&R briefed the NPMC about sufficient availability of stock of wheat with the provinces and PASSCO.
The secretary industries and production briefed the NPMC about the start of voluntary crushing of the sugarcane in some districts of Sindh by 25th October 2021. He also updated the committee about the priority of the government to begin sugarcane crushing by the first week of November 2021 in Punjab.
The sugarcane production is expected to be in greater quantity as compared to last year. Moreover, the imported sugar is being provided to Sasta Sahulat Bazaars and Utility Stores Corporation at subsidised price of Rs90 per kg in order to provide relief to the consumers, he said. The early crushing of sugarcane will further reduce the prices of sugar in local markets, he added.
The committee was briefed about the continuous fluctuations in the international prices of palm and soybean oils. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has worked out an arrangement with all relevant stakeholders and a firmed up proposal will be submitted before the cabinet to reduce duty on import of edible oil which will reduce the prices of ghee in local markets.
The Secretary NFS&R informed about the increase in prices of chicken due to seasonal factors. The opening of restaurants and banquet halls have pushed the demand for increased consumption of chicken and prices will be streamlined with improved supply in a few weeks.