ISLAMABAD, SEPT 07 (DNA) – The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) suggested to the provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory administration to expand the network of Sasta Bazaar to ensure the availability of essential foods at lower prices to wider population.The recommendation is a positive development amidst the economic crisis and the rise in daily usages items.According to the details, the meeting was attended by the representatives of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ICT, ministries of industries, law and justice, commerce, national food security and research, planning, development and reform and inter-provincial coordination, CCP, Bureau of Statistics, Utility Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.
The committee made the recommendation after it noted that the prices of essential goods were significantly lower in Sasta Bazaars as compared to the open market, making a strong case for the opening of such bazaars across the country to benefit consumers from lower and middle classes.
The meeting chaired by Special Secretary of Finance Omar Hamid Khan also advised the provincial governments to ensure the quality of essential items is not compromised in such bazaars to benefit the common man.
The inflation has entered double digits in August and risen to 10.49 percent, the biggest increase in five years and 10 months. The last time inflation entered the double digits was in November 2013 when it was recorded at 10.9pc. This causes social backlash since it has badly impacted the buying power of daily wagers. The PTI government had to face severe criticism for its unaccommodating economic policy.
In this background, the committee noticed that inflationary pressures were affecting purchasing power of lower and middle-class people.
Therefore, vigilant monitoring of prices of food and non-food items at the district level and better coordination among the provinces are essential to ensure the provision of essential food items at affordable prices.
The NPMC discussed the increase in prices of daily food items and non-food items, including wheat, rice, chicken, onion, white lentil, gram pulse, split red lentil, meat, milk powder, cooking oil, vegetable ghee, sugar, gas charges, motor fuel, transport services, footwear, construction wage rates, doctor’s fee etc.
The NPMC directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to constitute a panel comprising representatives of all provinces and relevant stakeholders to review the framework of recommendations prepared by the CCP regarding price control and supply of essential food items and implement the recommendations at the earliest.
The Punjab government was directed to share their online market complaints’ app and its redressal mechanism with other provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The special secretary said the finance division was committed to take effective fiscal measures to control inflationary pressures and provide relief to the public.=DNA