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Faraz says govt mulling over policy to make price of flour uniform across country

Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on August 12. — PID

ISLAMABAD:  The government is working on a plan to make the prices of flour uniform throughout the country, Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz said Wednesday.

Senator Shibli Faraz was briefing the media on the decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting of the Price Control Committee.

“One of the challenges that our government faces is inflation, and the prime minister chairs a weekly meeting with all the relevant authorities to review to prices,” Faraz said.

In today’s meeting, the premier had asked about rates of essential commodities. “The prices of several daily-use items had declined, but the prime minister asked the officials to reduce them further as they did not meet his standards.”

Talking about the price of 20kg flour bag in the provinces, he said that the price of the commodity fluctuates from Rs900 to Rs1,100 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In Punjab, he said, the average price is Rs860, while some stores are selling the flour at a higher rate.

“However, in Sindh, the prices are at the highest level.”

There is a considerable gap between the prices in Sindh and other provinces, he said, adding that in Karachi, the prices have spiked as the provincial government had not been releasing the wheat according to the requirement.

“All these figures are gathered from local shops and are then presented before PM Imran, and he has given directions based on today’s figures,” he said.

The information minister said that due to the shortage of wheat in other provinces — where the prices are high — the commodity was being transported from Punjab, and in the process, some people were earning huge profits.

The prime minister has directed his Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and food secretaries to devise a mechanism to bring the price of flour at a near-uniform rate.

“The prime minister does not talk about weeks he had directed the adviser and food secretaries to meet soon after the meeting […] I will inform about their decision to the media in a day or two,” Faraz said.

Talking about sugar, he said that the stocks of the commodity has witnessed a sudden decline in Punjab. “We have to probe what had happened.”

The information minister said that sugar mafia had increased the prices to bring the government under the pressure.

Faraz said rules that in the past, policies were made under a conflict of interest as policymakers owned sugar mills.

The information minister said that the government was keeping a close eye on those trying to hoard sugar, adding that private and public corporations were importing the commodity in a bid to reduce its prices.

“The government is committed to reducing the prices of daily use items,” Faraz added.

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