FBR told to bust fertiliser smuggling to stabilise prices

Shaukat Tarin, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, on Monday directed Federal Board or Revenue (FBR) to take crack whip on smuggling of fertilisers to neighbouring countries to ensure price stability in the country.

Tarin issued these directives, while chairing the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) held at the Finance Division. The committee was briefed that smuggling of this chemical farm input was weighing on the supply chain, which was not only undermining its availability, but was also causing the prices to fluctuate to the disadvantage of growers in some parts of the country. Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production, Provincial chief secretaries, Economic Adviser Finance Division, Member National Accounts PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Chairman OGRA, Member Customs FBR and other senior officers participated in the meeting.

Economic Adviser Finance Division briefed the NPMC about weekly SPI-based inflation, which increased 1.10 percent as compared to 1.37 percent decrease in previous week. The meeting was updated on the wheat flour prices in the country. It was informed that an increase in the prices of wheat flour in Karachi impacted the national average price. The chair was apprised that stock position of wheat in the country was sufficiently available.

Tarin directed Ministry of NFS&R to workout realistic data on wheat production, in consultation with the provincial authorities to assess the accurate future requirement of Wheat for imports. The meeting asked the Secretary Ministry of Industry & Production to expedite the process of building strategic reserves of sugar through local procurement as approved by ECC.

The NPMC also learnt that year-on-year prices of palm and soybean oil increased 49.2 percent and 72.4 percent respectively in the global market. The chair further directed Ministry of Industries and Production to take immediate action to ensure relief of 10 percent on duty was passed on to the consumers.

The provincial authorities of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan were directed to take administrative actions for ensuring the minimum wholesale and retail gap in the prices of daily commodities.

The meeting was also briefed on the comparison of prices of essential items with prices in the regional countries. It was informed that prices of commodities were lowest in Pakistan as compared to neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Tarin appreciated the efforts of Punjab, KP, Balochistan, and Islamabad administration in providing essential items at discounted rates at Sasta and Sahulat bazaars.

He also expressed satisfaction on the contribution of Sindh government for providing essential items at discounted rates in Sahulat bazaars. In the concluding remarks, the finance minister commended the efforts being undertaken for stabilising the prices of essential items successfully and measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities throughout the country.

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