ISLAMABAD  -  The government is all set to import more wheat for building strategic reserves and to ensure steady supply during the current year. 

The government is making arrangements to import wheat for building strategic reserves. A summary, in this regard, will be presented before next ECC (Economic Coordination Committee) for requisite approval in this regard. The Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that there is sufficient availability of wheat stocks across the country. However, the government is importing more wheat for building strategic reserves and to ensure steady supply during the current year. 

He made these remarks in National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), which was chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin. The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible ghee, chicken and vegetables during the last week.

While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the finance secretary apprised that prices of 09 basic commodities registered a decline whereas 30 items remained stable during the week under review. 

In compliance with the earlier directions of the finance minister, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) updated the committee about data collection methodology and presented a detailed working regarding disparity between wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities. After due deliberation, the NPMC directed PBS to further review its data collection methodology to reflect variation between wholesale and retail levels for basic commodities across different cities accurately. The finance minister also directed PBS to ensure that data must represent and reflect prevailing prices trends including prices prevailing in Ramazan Saastaa/Sahulat Bazaars for wide coverage.

While taking stock of the situation, the finance minister urged all the provincial governments to ensure daily release of wheat on subsidised rates in compliance with the directives of the prime minister to keep the prices of wheat flour bags in check. In his concluding remarks, the finance minister directed the respective provincial administrations and concerned departments for strict monitoring of prices of basic commodities to ensure availability of sufficient stocks of basic commodities to provide relief to the consumers on the special occasion of Eid. Keeping in view the arrival of Eid, the finance minister stressed coordinated and consolidated efforts by all concerned to check undue profiteering and price hike to facilitate masses during the last week of Ramazan.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Secretary M/o Industries  and Production, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation and other senior officers participated in the meeting. 

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin on Monday directed the subcommittee of Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on Agriculture to work out and present holistic proposals during the next meeting. 

He made these remarks while presiding over the meeting of Sub-Committee of Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on Agriculture held at the Finance Division. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, SAPM on Food Security Jamshaid Cheema as well as private members Amer Aziz,   Mansoor Arfeen, Aftab Anwar,   Saadat Ejaz and   Arif Nadeem also participated in the meeting.

The sub-committee on agriculture reviewed the entire food supply chain from farmer to end-consumer for minimising the price differential between wholesale and retail prices of basic commodities. The key focus is to work out a regulatory mechanism to ensure that the farmer gets a fair share and undue profiteering is curtailed effectively. 

In his remarks, the finance minister stated that agriculture plays a central role in our economy and the government is focused on transforming this sector. There is a need to re-visit the farm-to-end-consumer chain by removing bottlenecks in farm labour, processing, transport and logistics. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation particularly challenging due to disruptions on supply side, he added. 

The finance minister directed the members of the sub-committee to work out and present holistic proposals during the next meeting. He encouraged the members to come up with innovative ideas to ensure price stability in key commodities of daily use.


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