ISLAMABAD: National Price Monitoring Committee has said that government measures to control price hike yielding results as inflation in December 2020 decreased by 4.2 compared the same period of the previous year.

Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, chaired the meeting of the NPMC on Monday. The committee reviewed the price trend of essential commodities, especially wheat, sugar and edible oil. Finance Secretary briefed about the decline in the Consumer Price Index recorded at 8% in December 2020 compared to 12.6% in December 2019 as a positive outcome of vigilant monitoring under NPMC regularly. The NPMC noted a significant decline in food inflation as urban food inflation declined by 2.1% and rural declined by 3.4% on a month-on-month basis. NPMC was also informed that there is a decline in weekly Sensitive Price Index by 0.7%. Prices of 10 essential food commodities were reduced notably tomatoes, onions, potatoes and chicken.

The chair noted that the prices of essential items have started showing a declining trend, which is a positive outcome of vigilant monitoring under NPMC weekly. He emphasized increased coordination among Federal and Provincial authorities to identify demand-supply gaps and take immediate remedial measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of daily use items at affordable prices.

The NPMC observed price variation in wheat flour in Sindh and Balochistan Provinces, reflected in PBS data. The Finance Minister directed the Chief Secretaries to regulate the smooth supply of wheat throughout the province by increasing daily release, if needed, and submit a comprehensive report in the next NPMC accordingly. The Chair urged the Provincial Secretaries to check hoarding and black marketing possibilities, especially wheat and sugar, to ensure uninterrupted provision at fair prices.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Hammad Azhar, updated the NPMC about measures being taken to further reduce sugar and edible oil prices in consultation with stakeholders. The Chair directed to constitute a Committee, headed by the Minister for Industries and Production, with Secretary MNFS&R and stakeholders concerned as its members to develop a concerted course of action in this regard. The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood also appreciated the measures being taken to reduce sugar and edible oil prices further.

The Chair stressed the need for the effective functioning of all federal and provincial authorities to monitor the demand-supply position across the country to provide daily use items to the general public at affordable rates.

Minister for Industries & Production, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles & Investment, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Provincial Chief Secretaries,  Secretary M/o NFS&R, Special Secretary Commerce, Chairman FBR, Additional Secretary Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Member CCP, Chairman TCP,  MD PASSCO, MD Utility Store Corporation, Member National Accounts and senior officers of the Finance Division participated in the meeting.

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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