ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that price stability was the top priority of the Government and it would intervene where necessary to maintain stability of prices.
He stated this while chairing the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) here.
The Finance Minister on the occasion appreciated the provinces for taking price control measures effectively which had resulted in the decline of kitchen items over last 8 weeks.
He stressed them to make further efforts to provide relief to the common man.
The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal, representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries & Production, Law, Justice & Human Rights, Commerce & Textile Industry, National Food Security & Research, Inter-Provincial Coordination, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Federal Board of Revenue and Utility Stores Corporation.
The meeting reviewed the inflationary trend of various indicators including the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Food, Non-Food, Core, Wholesale Price index (WPI), Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) and Index of 28 selected essential items.
The NPMC was informed that inflation measured by CPI was recorded at 9.2 percent during December 2013, similarly SPI and WPI also reported at 11.1 percent and 8.9 percent respectively, whereas inflation in Food items is reported at 9.3 percent, Non-Food 9.1 percent and Core at 8.2 percent.
The SPI for the week ended on January 23, recorded a decrease of -0.17 percent due to decrease in prices of 09 commodities, while prices of 18 items increased and prices of 26 items remained stable as compared to last week ended on January 16.
The meeting also noted that SPI is continuously declining over the last three weeks in January-2014, which is an indication that government policies and measures to control inflation, are working.
It was also noted that prices of tomatoes, onion, potatoes, eggs and sugar are declining due to improvement in supply of these commodities.
The week ending on 23-01-2014, witnessed decrease in prices of Tomatoes 17.71pc, Onions 4.19pc, Eggs 0.83pc, Bananas 0.53pc, L.P.G 0.32pc, Rice Basmati Broken 0.19pc, Red Chilies 0.18pc, Wheat Flour 0.15pc and Veg. Ghee (Loose) 0.02pc over last week, while the items recorded increase in their prices are Gram Pulse 2.27pc, Milk Powdered Nido 1.85pc, Salt Powdered 1.30pc, Shirting 1.22pc, Masoor Pulse 1.02pc, Chicken Farm 0.93pc, Lawn ,0.77pc Garlic 0.67pc, Wheat 0.63pc, Potatoes 0.42pc, Moong Pulse 0.38pc, Gur 0.33pc, Long Cloth 0.33pc, Cooked Dal Plate 0.31pc, Washing Soap (200-250 gm) 0.25pc, Mash Pulse 0.20pc, Sugar 0.10pc and Rice Irri-6 0.06pc. Whereas the prices of Bread Plain Med. Size (340-400 gm), Beef, Mutton, Milk (fresh), Mustard Oil, Cooking Oil (tin), Veg. Ghee (tin), Tea ( Yellow Lable 200 Gm), Petrol, and Diesel remained unchanged.
The meeting also noted the price trend of essential items and it was observed that some of the items (Wheat, Wheat Flour, Powder Milk – Nido, Bananas, and Red Chilies) registered nominal increase during the period 21-11-2013 to 23-1-2014.
While some items registered massive decline during the current period over corresponding period such as Eggs, Potatoes, Onions, Tomatoes and Sugar.
The NMPC also observed that in comparison with the regional countries, Pakistan had the lowest prices of Rice Basmati, wheat, wheat Flour, Beef, Eggs, Red chilies, Petrol, Mutton and second lowest in Mash Pulse, Gram Pulse, Masoor Pulse, Moong Pulse, Sugar, Chicken, Garlic, Onions and Vegetable Ghee.
The meeting also reviewed the price trend of 28 selected items among the provinces.
Some variations in the prices of Wheat, Wheat Flour, Rice Basmati Broken, Rice Irri-6, Pulses, Beef, Mutton, Milk Fresh, Milk Powdered, Ghee, Tomatoes and Garlic, were observed.
The Chief Commissioner ensured that Islamabad Capital Territory will take further measures to check prices and monitor the supply situation of all essential items.
The meeting also discussed the stock position of wheat, rice, sugar, oil and other essential items and expressed satisfaction on the stock position.
The meeting was informed that Punjab Government is taking all possible measures to ensure price stability and that they had improved enforcement mechanism.
The Punjab government had established a system that a consumer can check prices of essential items on mobile phone through dedicated No by SMS and insist on the price of the item, if the seller is reluctant, the consumer can complain on a toll-free number.
The Finance Minister appreciated the effort and urged all other provinces should benefit from this mechanism.