NPMC calls for provision of food items at affordable prices
ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) has called on the authorities concerned as well as the provincial governments to coordinate their efforts to monitor the provision of essential food items at affordable prices.
The Committee also asked the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to take prudent administrative measures to check anti-competitive practices and also stressed the need for chalking out a comprehensive plan in collaboration with provinces to prevent risk of major and minor crop due to locust attack.
The NPMC meeting was chaired by Finance Secretary to discuss the price trends of essential food items. While among others, it was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Interior, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, National Food Security & Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The meeting was informed that Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation decreased by 0.8% on Month on Month basis in April 2020 over March 2020. However on Year-on-Year basis, it was recorded at 8.5 % in April 2020 over April 2019 and July-April CPI inflation on YoY reached to 11.2% (6.5% last year).
Price trend in international market are on declining which will augur well for the domestic prices in the near future while the government was proactively taking measures to control the general price level of daily use items during the month of Ramadan.
It was noticed that Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which monitors the price movement of 51 essential items on weekly basis recorded an increase of 0.01% for the week ended on May 14, 2020. During the week, 11 items recorded decline in their prices while 26 items remain stable.
This is the fifth consecutive increase in SPI during the month of April and May 2020.
Provincial governments informed that they were regularly monitoring the prices and taking strict action against hoarding and undue profiteering.
Sindh Government informed that during month of Ramadan 49,833 units were checked out of which 8902 shopkeepers were fined for an amount of Rs.15.717 million.
Punjab Government informed that 460,337 inspections were carried out and 51,924 shopkeepers were found involved in overcharging and fine of Rs.103,746,779 were imposed. The Committee also discussed the price movements of essential items among the provinces/ICT and observed variations in price level.
The meeting also discussed the outbreak of novel coronavirus and its impact on demand and supply of essential items. The spread of pandemic has compelled the governments to close/strict the borders, however, it was informed that there is no impact of such closure on domestic prices of essential food items as their trade on these borders are negligible. – APP