islamabad-Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Monday warned that the government would lift taxes/levies on imported potatoes to bring its price to around Rs 30 per kg if hoarders/speculators did not bring prices to the normal level within three days.

Finance Minister made these remarks while chairing a meeting to review agricultural products prices in the country. Ishaq Dar took cognizance of the manipulated prices of potato, Rs 50 per kilogram in the local market. In his 2nd meeting in the last three days over the prices of the agricultural products, the finance minister was informed through an in-depth briefing by the concerned officials about the production, supply, consumption and storage chain of the potato. He was informed that there is almost 1.1 million tons of surplus potato in the country and the prices of potato are being artificially manipulated at a much higher level by the hoarders, speculators and middlemen. He was informed that in a neighboring country potato is being sold at much less price.

Ishaq Dar said that the government is very serious on keeping the prices of the essential commodities at appropriate level and it will take all necessary steps to devise expeditious mechanism to bring down the prices.

The finance minister, after listening to the stakeholders decided that if the prices of the potato are not brought to the normal level within a time span of three days (72 hours) then all the taxes and levies on the import of the potatoes will be lifted to bring the prices to a level less than Rs. 30 per kilogram. He concluded that the profiteers will not be allowed to manipulate excess margins by holding supplies to the market.

The meeting was also attended by Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Dr Farrukh Javed, Minister of agriculture Punjab, Dr Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary, Seerat Asghar Jaura, Secretary NFS & Reserch, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Shahid Mahmood, Special Assistance to Finance Minister and other senior officials of the Federal and Punjab government.