ISLAMABAD: In the wake of escalated food prices especially pulses and vegetables in the aftermath of lockdown, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Saturday instructed relevant authorities to streamline supply chains of all essential food items.
Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a videoconference here on Saturday, to review the situation and consider proposals relating to the management of supply chains of essential commodities, during the partial or complete shutdown in place in various parts of the country. However, the prices of pulses, sugar, wheat flour and vegetable, witnessed price hike in the domestic market mainly because of shortage of these items. The prices of those items witnessed increase that were being imported. The prices of bitter gourd witnessed unprecedented hike as it went up to Rs350 to Rs370 per kg in different parts of the country. The prices of capsicum also went up in the domestic market. The sugar prices escalated and stood in the range of Rs85 to Rs95 per kg in different parts of the country. The price of wheat flour escalated to Rs50-55 per kg.
Keeping in view this rising trend in food prices, the meeting discussed proposals for ensuring continued operation of various industries, especially those included in the food and medicine supply chains, during the COVID-19 emergency. Matters related to continued supply of electric power and petroleum products were also discussed.
It was decided that detailed safety guidelines for the workers will be outlined for those industries, which are required to be kept operational to ensure the supply of essential commodities. The guidelines will be implemented in collaboration with the industry associations. The meeting directed the Ministry of Industries to closely monitor any issues faced by the industries identified for continued operation and address them in a proactive manner. The Ministry of Commerce was directed to make assessments for import requirement of such industries and remove the bottlenecks, if any.
It was decided that the proposals finalised at the meeting would be shared with the provinces for their input, before submission to the National Coordination Committee, for final approval. Ministers for Power, National Food Security and EAD, Adviser on Commerce & Industries as well as senior officials participated in the videoconference.