ISLAMABAD: The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Friday took notice of the hike in prices of poultry products and directed the provincial governments to take necessary measures to ensure the smooth supply of these items at reasonable rates.

The NPMC meeting, chaired by its chairman Additional Secretary Finance Dr Arshad Mehmood, discussed price trend of essential food items.

Poultry prices are on an upward trend since June. However, the provincial governments failed to take strict action against profiteers taking undue profit margin in the sale of chicken products and ensure a smooth supply of these food items in market.

The committee also directed the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to bring down prices of poultry products in the city. The NPMC discussed the rise in prices of poultry products with all stakeholders and also examined the demand and supply dynamics.

NPMC urges provision of masks, oxygen cylinders at reasonable rates

The prices of face masks, sanitisers and oxygen cylinders before and during the ongoing pandemic also came under discussion. The provinces and ICT administration were asked to take necessary measures for the provision of these items at reasonable prices.

An official announcement issued after the meeting said the role of middlemen was also discussed in a detail. The committee observed that middlemen are responsible for an increase in the general price level of commodities and need to check the high-profit margins.

The NPMC also appreciated ICT, Sindh and Punjab governments for the online delivery system of essential food items on wholesale prices at the doorstep of consumers.

The committee stressed that the same may be extended to other districts of the provinces. It was also urged that this model should be replicated by the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The committee advised relevant authorities and provincial governments to ensure smooth supply of essential food items at affordable prices and remove price disparity. The chairman further directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to play a proactive role to check cartelisation and other anti-market practices.

Earlier, the meeting was informed that CPI inflation year on year was recorded at 8.6 per cent in June 2020 over the same period last year. July-June CPI inflation on average rose to 10.7pc. It was noted that inflation had been on declining trend till May 2020 but had been slightly up during the month of June 2020.

It was observed that the price trend in international market was also following a rising trend on account of higher demand due to easing of lockdown conditions.

The meeting was briefed that the government in consultation with all stakeholders was taking proactive measures to control the general price level of daily use items at the federal, provincial and district levels. It was noticed that the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) which monitors the price movement of 51 essential items on a weekly basis, had recorded an increase of 0.98pc for the week ended on July 9.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, ICT, ministries inc­l­uding Industries, Interior, Com­me­r­ce, Planning, Development & Spe­cial Initiatives and National Food Security & Research. Repre­senta­tives of Federal Board of Revenue, CCP and Pakistan Bureau of Statis­tics were also present in the meeting.