Directives of price control
While chairing a meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed Chief Secretaries of provinces to take immediate measures for ensuring the availability of basic food commodities such as wheat and sugar to the people at affordable rates through mechanism of administered price control. He underscored the need for evolving a coherent and sustainable policy for the interprovincial movement of food commodities in coordination with Ministry of National Food Security.
The prices of wheat, sugar, poultry, vegetables and fruits have gone up. The variables that create high price spiral include low output of agriculture sector, skewed policy of exporting the surplus food commodities, Cartelisation of economy, hoarding and profiteering. Anti-hoarding Ordinance has come into force in April. But law will have its utility only when other variables responsible for high price spiral are not at work. The recurring locust attacks have decimated standing crops of cereals like wheat on vast tracts of agriculture land. The supply of wheat flour will remain short till such time imported quantity reaches the market, provided it does not land in the hands of cartel. Again the anti-hoarding law will not achieve the desired result when cartels of food commodities are not broken by doing the necessary legislation to empower CCP to maintain fair competition at the distribution phase to the wholesale market. In the prevailing condition, mechanism of administrative price control may not bring down prices.