ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Industries & Production Hammad Azhar has said that production of sugar is likely to increase this year due to improved sugarcane crushing activity and would eventually relieve pressure on the upward price trend.
The minister made this observation in a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee chaired by Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. The representative from the Punjab government briefed that a strict action has been taken against the role of middlemen in the sugarcane market as directed by NPMC. He informed that prices of sugar are currently stable in the Province; however, in some areas marginal hike is observed due to fog and weather conditions. Minister for Industries & Production appreciated the efforts of the Punjab Government in minimising the role of middlemen.
Meanwhile in an interview to a news channel the minister of industries said that because of the supply of imported sugar on the controlled price by the government from November onwards the prices of sugar showed a downward trend. However, he said since the imported sugar stocks sold, the sugar millers again demanding higher prices. Hammad Azhar said his Ministry preparing a summary to be presented in Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, in which they again seek permission from the Prime Minister to import sugar so prices can be stabilised. He said the Ministry of Industry would also seek a reduction of taxes on raw sugar and incentives for the private sector to encourage them to import sugar to meet local demand. Minister for Industries & Production Hammad Azhar also briefed NPMC about the steps being taken to control the prices of edible oil/ghee.
Secretary Finance briefed NPMC that prices of wheat and eggs have registered downward trend due to coordinated and consolidated efforts of the Provincial governments. The Finance Minister directed the Provincial governments and relevant departments to continue the momentum of strict price monitoring for provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.
Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research briefed NPMC about the current status of wheat stock across the country and assured that all possible measures would be taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat at affordable prices.
Member Pakistan Bureau of Statistics presented before NPMC a live dashboard of prices of essential items for comparative analysis which will be helpful in monitoring prices of essential items across major cities and markets in real-time. The system is prepared by PBS to monitor food prices and figure out price fluctuations for timely decision making and smooth coordination among Provincial governments and departments concerned. The Finance Minister lauded the mechanism for effective price monitoring and sound decision making. NPMC directed PBS to hold a meeting with Provincial governments to remove price disparity in essential items and urged the Provinces to draw maximum benefit from the newly developed system.