ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday directed Ministry of National Food Security and Research to analyse and monitor the export of potatoes to ensure that domestic prices are not affected.
He was chairing a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee here to review the change of price of essential items in the country. The meeting observed that the prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken, eggs, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, rice, cooking oil, vegetable gee decreased as compared to last year while the prices of milk powder, onion, red chilies, garlic, beef, mutton and pulses increased. The Committee also noted increasing trend in some products such as pulses (moong, mash, and masoor) and garlic and directed Ministry of National Food Security and Research to closely monitor the prices of these items and take measure to bring them down.
Ishaq Dar observed that the prices of the most of the essential items like rice basmati broken, rice irri, mutton, mustard oil, banana, masoor pulse, gram pulse, potatoes, tomatoes and garlic are very high in Islamabad as compared to the provinces. He directed Islamabad Capital Administration to take appropriate administrative measures to check and control the price disparity with the neighbouring regions. The Minister expressed concern over the delay in import of gram pulse by Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and Ministry of Commerce to expedite the process to arrest the price increase of the product.
The meeting was informed that the headline inflation Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 1.6 percent on year-on-year basis in October 2015 as compared to 5.8 percent in October 2014. Food inflation on year-to-year basis increased by 0.5 percent and Non-food inflation increased by 2.4 percent as compared to 5.2 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, of last year. On month-on-month (MoM) basis, it increased by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Sensitive Price Index (SPI) inflation on year-to-year basis recorded a decline of 0.1 percent in October 2015 as compared to increase of 4.1 percent in October 2014.
On MoM basis, it increased by 1.2 percent in October 2015 as compared to decline of 0.03 percent in October 2014. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation on Year on Year basis declined by 2.7 percent in October 2015 as compared to increase of 1.3 percent in October 2014. The WPI inflation on MoM basis increased by 0.5 percent in October 2015 as compared to decline of 0.3 percent in October 2014. Core inflation increased by 3.4% in October 2015 as compared to 7.8 percent in the comparable month of last year. Core inflation on MoM basis increased by 0.6 percent in October 2015 as compared to increase of 0.7 percent last year.
The committee also reviewed the findings of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) which suggested short term and long term recommendations for controlling prices. It was decided to hold further consultation on the recommendations. The meeting also reviewed the regional price comparison of essential commodities among Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka and observed that the prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, petrol, beef, tomatoes, masoor pulse, vegetable ghee are lowest in Pakistan as compared to New Delhi and Dhaka and second lowest in eggs, red chilies, milk fresh, sugar, gram pulses, diesel, mutton, beef, potatoes and higher in DAP, tea and urea.
The provincial governments informed the meeting about their administrative measures in controlling the prices. The Minister advised the provincial governments to play proactive role in maintaining the price stability.