Committee discusses impact of flood


The National Price Monitoring Committee meeting on Monday reviewed the price trend of essential food items particularly in the situation developed due to floods and rains. The Secretary Finance Waqar Masood was told that prices of daily use items have declined and Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended on 18th September, 2011 declined by 0.11 per cent. Out of 53 items, prices of 11 items increased while prices of 13 items decreased and 20 items remained unchanged.
The committee monitored the price situation arising out of the damages caused by recent floods and rains in Sindh and examined the possibility to import items of daily use from neighbouring countries. The international food and fuel prices were also examined and noted that on year on year basis in August there was an increase in prices of wheat, crude oil, palm oil, sugar, tea, rice and DAP etc, but on month on month basis there has been a decline in the prices of these commodities which may bring some relief in domestic prices.
The impact of the recent floods and rains on the prices in the provinces was discussed. It was informed by the representative of KPK that there is no major impact on prices in their province which was also endorsed by the representative of Punjab and Balochistan. However, the likely impact cannot be ignored once the supply from up country would start to cater the needs of Sindh.
Some sensitive commodities such as red chilies, tomatoes and onions are grown in good quantities in Sindh and their impact on prices may be observed in the coming weeks. The Committee also took account of the current stock position of sugar and observed that sufficient stock is available till end of December 2011, however, in view of damages to the sugar crop in Sindh, it was stressed that a decision be taken to timely import sugar to cater to the strategic reserves and Utility Store Corporation’s requirement. The National Price Monitoring Committee was attended by the representatives from the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Balochistan, and Ministries of Planning and Development, Industries, Federal Bureau of Statistics and Competition Commission of Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention that heavy monsoon rains in Sindh and parts of Balochistan and Southern Punjab has wreaked havoc to the cultivated crop in the region. Pakistan is mainly an agrarian economy with a major proportion of the population relying on agriculture for sustenance. An adverse impact on crops not only affects the already strangulated economy of Pakistan but also affects the livelihood of millions of people. The recent floods in Sindh has resulted in 5.3 million people being displaced with almost 1.2 million homes affected. It needs to be understood that Sindh is often referred to as the “breadbasket” of the country, therefore the impact of the natural calamity on the economy is expected to be massive. According to estimates, approximately 1.7 million acres of arable land has been inundated due to heavy rains.