Islamabad (Staff Report): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar directed the concerned authorities to maintain strict check on the food items’ prices, on Saturday.

He directed while Chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee meeting in Islamabad, to control the undeclared monopoly, take corrective measures and arrest any cartelization, particularly in milk and meat products as well as mitigate any expected rise in prices of pulses.

Ishaq Dar also expressed concern about the slight increase in the prices of sugar and directed the Ministry of Commerce to vigilantly monitor the prices and take appropriate remedial action if there is any erratic movement.

With regard to mutton and beef prices, he directed the Ministry of National Food and Security to take corrective measures to curb smuggling. He advised provincial governments to be more cautious to control prices.

The essential item’s prices in sasta bazaars and open markets are also reviewed during the meeting and noted that the prices are significantly lower in sasta bazaars as compared to open markets.

A decreased was seen in prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken, onion, tomatoes, cooking oil, vegetable ghee, masoor pulse, moong pulse, mash pulse, last month as compared to corresponding month of last year.

Prices of cooking oil, vegetable ghee, chicken, banana, tomatoes, rice, and mustard oil are much lower than the prices in 2013.

It was also observed in the meeting noted that the prices of wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, petrol, diesel, rice basmati, sugar, mash pulse and beef are lowest in Pakistan as compared to New Delhi and Dhaka.