From Monday, Govt to use ‘all resources’ to bring food prices down: PM Imran Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced that his government will take action against the rising food prices from Monday coming week

“Starting Monday in the coming week, our government will use all the resources at the disposal of the state to bring down food prices,” said PM Khan in a tweet post.

The PM said that his cabinet is examining the causes of the recent price hike, and has set up a strategy to bring down food prices.

“We are already examining causes of the price hikes: whether there is a genuine supply shortage or simply hoarding by mafias; smuggling, if any; or a price rise due to international prices such as for palm oil, lentils, etc.

“From next week we will have our strategy in place & action will begin using all state organizations & resources to bring down food prices,” he added.

Inflation data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reveals that the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 9.04 percent last month compared to 8.2 percent in August 2020.

The major contributors to the inflationary spiral remain perishable food items partly attributable to (i) seasonal factors (inexplicably the price of potato rose by 6.81 percent in September in comparison to August at a time when the government is debating whether to allow potato exports to Russia because of a surplus crop in this country – an item used in the manufacture of vodka), (ii) partly due to the rise in transport costs as a consequence of the rise in petrol prices with a significant tax component, and (iii) partly due to supply chain issues due to delayed/flawed decisions pertaining to ensuring the availability of some commodities in the domestic market for example wheat and sugar while blaming their price rise entirely on the ‘mafias’, more accurately defined as cartels.

Meanwhile, the prices of wheat flour have surged to an all-time high of Rs75 per kilogram, mainly due to hoarding despite massive import of wheat grains. The federal government in July this year allowed duty-free import of wheat to control the prices of wheat flour and avoid the shortage of the commodity in the local market.