Islamabad: The National Price Monitoring Committee held its 11th meeting on 27th February, 2012 in Finance Division under the Chairmanship of Secretary Finance, which was attended by the representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Commerce, Food Security Division, Cabinet Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and Trading Corporation of Pakistan.
The meeting reviewed the prices and supply trend of essential food items in general and supply cycle of Potato, Onion and Tomato in particular as well as the prices in neighbouring countries and the trend of International prices.
It was noted that Sensitive Price Indicator which monitor the prices of 53 items declined by 0.13% on the week ended on 23-02-2012. Out of 53 items, prices of 20 items increased as compared to prices of 24 items in the previous week ended on 16-02-2012, prices of 10 items decreased as compared to 12 items in the previous week while prices of 23 items remained unchanged as compared to prices of 17 items of the last week.
The prices of tomatoes declined by 15.9 %, Onion 4.05 %, Potatoes 1.2 % and Red Chilies 0.79 % while prices which registered a very nominal increase are Mash pulse 0.06 %, Garlic 0.09 %, Masoor pulse 0.2 %, Rice irri-6, 0.22 % and Milk fresh 0.24 % as compared to last week.
The committee also reviewed the price trend of 28 selected items in the provinces and noted that the prices of Tomato, Potato, cooking oil and vegetable ghee (loose) witnessed some decline as compared to last month. However, some variations in the prices of Mutton, Moong Pulse, Red Chilies and Mustard oil among provinces were noticed. The provinces were once again emphasized to take necessary corrective measures.
The committee also took note that the prices of wheat flour, Rice, Gram Pulse and sugar are lower in the Pakistan as compared to India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka while we stand at No. 2 in the prices of wheat, Moong Pulse, Beef, Chicken Farm, Garlic and Petrol and at par with India in the prices of Moong Pulse, Mutton, Beef and Wheat.
The International price trend suggests that Rice have increased by15 % since July 2011 while prices of Urea, DAP, Sugar, Wheat, Tea, Soybean oil, Crude Oil and Palm Oil have declined by 22.4 %, 18.5 %, 16.5 %, 14.4 %, 14.4%, 8.9 %,4.6 %, 2.5 % respectively since July 2011. However, to be compared with December 2011 an increasing trend in the prices of Sugar, Rice, Palm oil, Soybean oil and Crude oil was noted.
The Committee discussed the increase in the prices of Urea and DAP. The factors responsible for the increase are Gas load shedding, imposition of surcharge levy and sales tax. The Committee discussed short term and long term measures to bring stability in prices.
The Committee also reviewed the price and supply situation of edible oil in country and observed there is no shortage of edible oil and ghee in the country. Utility Stores Corporation (USC) brand Ghee and Cooking Oil is being sold at the rate of Rs.154 per kg/Litre through USC outlets in order to provide relief to the general Public.
Since the domestic production of edible oil is only 24 %, the sector is heavily depended on import of Palm Oil and other edible oil; resultantly the prices of Ghee/edible oil are directly linked with international prices.
In order to reduce dependency on import of Edible Oil some measures have been proposed such as: (a) revival of Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB), (b) Incentives may be given to farmers to grow the oil related crops, (c) suitable land may be earmarked for plantation of palm oil specially, in Balochistan and Sindh (d) reaping the benefits under FTA with Indonesia as it will help in bringing the prices of edible Oil to affordable level and saving foreign exchange.
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