Sunday, December 10, 2023

Tarin orders purchase of 100,000 tons of sugar to reserves

The National Price Monitoring Committee expressed satisfaction with the recent reduction trend in sugar prices.

Chairing a committee meeting here on Monday, Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin ordered the purchase of 100,000 tonnes of sugar to secure strategic sweetener reserves.

The finance secretary informed the meeting of a slight 0.07 percent increase in the weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI), indicating price stability compared to previous weeks.

The committee noted that annual inflation was falling for the past two months from a high of 17.23% on May 20, 2021, to 12.28% on July 8, which is a significant drop in the SPI.

Likewise, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released on July 1 showed annual inflation at the national level of 8.9%, which was lower than the 10.74% of the previous year. Urban and rural inflation stood at 8.15% and 10.05%, compared to 10.17% and 11.63%, respectively. “Inflation is falling by all measures,” an official statement said.

In reviewing year-on-year and weekly inflation trends, the finance minister urged the respective district administrations and departments to take tough measures to keep the prices of essential items, including vegetables, under control in Eidul Azha to eliminate speculation.

Mr. Tarin formed a working group under the NPMC consist of the provincial chief secretaries, the secretary’s finance division, and representatives from Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Ministry of National Food Security and Research, and other relevant departments to develop measures to bring price stability to basic commodities by using the mystery shopping exercise and building strategic reserves of wheat, sugar, pulses, ghee, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes to reduce excessive profit margins and ensure availability of these items at affordable prices.

Mr. Tarin instructed the Ministry of Industry and Production, the Pakistan Competition Commission (CCP), and the Federal Revenue Council to take the necessary steps to ensure that the current decline in international edible oil prices was passed on to domestic consumers soon.

The president of the CCP said that the commission had already carried out an investigation in the edible oil and ghee sector to gather information and verify facts about the claimed fixing of retail prices of various cooking oil and ghee products for different markets segments.

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