ISLAMABAD  - The Federal as well provincial governments on Monday agreed to proceed to process of implementing Executive Magistracy System on fast track to keep check on prices of basic food commodities, as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) already approved the proposal.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, while chairing a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC), emphasised for expediting the process of Executive Magistracy System. The Ministry of IPC (Inter Provincial Coordination) informed that the proposal has been approved by the Council of Common Interest, all provinces agreed to proceed on the matter on fast track. The NPMC meeting was attended by the representatives from the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad Capital Territory, and Ministries of Industries, Law and Justice, Commerce, Food Security and Research, Interior, Inter Provincial Coordination, Cabinet, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Federal Board of Revenue, Utility Stores Corporation and Competition Commission of Pakistan.

The meeting was briefed that inflation had touched 17-month lowest level of 5.8 percent in last month of October 2014. The inflation rate is likely to further decline in ongoing month due to cut in prices of petroleum products. Meanwhile food inflation has been contained at 5.2pc and non-food at 6.3pc in October through implementing measure like monitoring of prices & supply as well other administrative measures and adopting appropriate monetary and fiscal policies.

Finance Minister underlined the resolve of government to control inflation and measures to control the prices of daily needs of the common man with the support of provincial governments and other stakeholders so that cartels, profiteers and hoarders may not make undue profit.

The meeting reviewed the trend of inflationary indicators including the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Food, Non-Food, Core, Wholesale Price index (WPI) and Sensitive Price Index (SPI). The CPI recorded at 5.8 percent during October 2014, similarly SPI and WPI also registered at 4.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. The SPI for the week ended on 13th November 2014 recorded an increase 0.26 percent due to increase in prices of some commodities, however, out of 53 items, prices of 12 items registered increase while prices of 11 items decreased and prices of 30 items remained stable as compared to last week ended on 06-11-2014. The meeting noted that prices of more than 50pc items remained stable.

The food items which registered increase in their prices are Moong Pulse 5.49pc, Masoor Pulse 3.37pc, Garlic 3.22pc, Eggs 2.81pc, Gram Pulse 1.27pc, Wheat 1.06pc, Mash Pulse 0.84pc, Sugar 0.28pc, Chicken Farm 0.28pc, Bananas 0.11pc and Wheat Flour 0.08pc. The items which recorded decrease in their prices are LPG 3.52pc, Potatoes 2.33pc, Gur 2.05pc, Tomatoes 1.97pc, Onions 1.90pc, Rice Irri-6 1.08pc, Red Chilly Powder 0.56pc, Petrol 0.13pc, Hi Speed Diesel (HSD) 0.12pc, Vegetable Ghee (Loose) 0.08pc and Rice Basmati Broken 0.07pc while prices of Bread Plain, Beef, Mutton, Milk Fresh, Powdered Milk Nido, Mustard Oil, Cooking Oil (Tin), Vegetable Ghee (Tin) and Tea (Lipton Yellow Label) remained stable.

The committee 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, Ghee, Tomatoes and Garlic were observed among the provinces. It was noted that most of the prices in Balochistan and Sindh are higher as compared to other provinces. It was also observed that prices of most items in Islamabad are also higher as compared to other regions of the country. The chair emphasised to address the prices disparities among the provinces and also instructed Capital Administration Islamabad (ICT) to control undue price hike as observed in some commodities.

The chair also informed that Prime Minister has already instructed the provinces that benefits of decline in petrol and diesel prices should reach to consumers at large in the country. Now provincial governments should take proactive measures and also need to identify where they need assistance from Federal Government, we are ready to provide maximum support at all level for the benefit of the common in the country.

It was informed by Punjab Government that the prices of transport and freight have been curtailed immediately by 6pc and 10pc respectively. They have established 3 control rooms. Special branch and other agencies providing daily report and these reports are discussed on daily basis and appropriate/corrective measures are bring taken to bring stability in prices and closely monitoring the situation to address any issues of hoarding and undue profit.

Balochistan Governments informed in the meeting that in order to pass on the impact of declined petrol prices, transporters have curtailed their fare by 7 pc. Their Consumer Courts have also been made functional to address the grievances of common man. Government of Sindh informed along with decline in petrol prices the transport charges have been cut by 10 percent and government is properly enforcing it in the province.

 KPK Government also informed that transport and freight charges have been curtailed by 10pc and Chief Minister himself is monitoring the situation with the co-ordination of DCOs. In ICT they informed that they have curtailed the fares by 5pc. 22 Magistrates have been deputed to check the prices, and  Rs.2.4 million fine has been imposed.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan informed that they are working on various dimension to control hoarding and profiteering. In this connection they have issued 454 show cause notices and Rs.26.3 billion penalties have been imposed and recovered only Rs.23.45 million. They are conducting study on food and focusing on milk, tea, meat, rice and wheat and tracking tomatoes, potatoes and LPG. They have submitted required changes needed in the Competition Act 2010 which needs early implementation.

The chair instructed Ministry of Food Security & Research to examine the increasing trend in the prices of pulses and take necessary corrective measures by taking all stakeholders on board and particularly focused on inter-cropping pattern so that it will enhance the productivity of pulses and maintain the prices. Ministry of Industries was instructed to look into the matter on increase in prices of imported milk and take corrective measures immediately in view of the decline in the dairy product prices globally so that the benefit may reach to the common man.

The meeting was informed that Food Security and Research Division has increased the potatoes area by 9pc which will further increase the production of the crop for Rabi season, whereas for tomatoes they are working to resolve the demand/supply gap and in this connection they will bring their plan in the next NPMC meeting.

The NPMC also observed that in comparison with the regional countries, Pakistan is the lowest in prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, gram pulse, sugar, petrol and second lowest in red chillies, beef, rice basmati, milk fresh, garlic, tomatoes and urea while prices of mutton, diesel, tea and potatoes are higher in Pakistan as compared to regional countries.