Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has directed to take all possible measures to bring down prices of essential items, including eggs, wheat flour and tomatoes. The finance minister issued these directions while chairing a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee in Islamabad on Monday. The finance minister directed the provincial governments to keep close watch on the prices of wheat to avoid hoarding, black marketing and smuggling, and to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat at affordable prices. He noted the increase in prices of eggs, wheat flour and tomatoes and directed to take all possible measures to bring down the prices of these essential items. Minister for Industries & Production Hammad Azhar apprised that they are closely monitoring the prices of sugar and edible oil to ensure uninterrupted supply at fair prices. The finance minister emphasised an increased coordination among all government functionaries for efficient monitoring of prices of essential items to provide maximum relief to the general public. The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities. The finance secretary briefed the NPMC that there has been a nominal increase in weekly Sensitive Price Index (SPI) by 0.11 percent. Prices of 10 basic items decreased notably onions, potatoes and chicken whereas eggs, wheat flour and tomatoes registered a slight increase during the week. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research updated the NPMC about the current status of wheat and sugar stocks. The improved availability has ensured steady supply of both commodities across the country. The wheat stock position is sufficient for the domestic consumption and average per day release to the provinces is also satisfactory.