ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday lauded provincial governments, federal ministries and organizations for making efforts towards controlling inflation to provide relief to the masses by easing out inflationary pressure. The minister was chairing meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC). The minister said that controlling the prices of essential items and making lives easier for the masses was the top priority of the incumbent government. He directed the capital administration to control the prices of essential items in the federal capital, where the NPMC observed that the prices were higher compared to rest of the country. The capital administration was directed to present a detailed report on the measures taken in the next week’s meeting. Briefing NPMC about the weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), the finance secretary apprised that it was decreased by 0.63% on May 27. The prices of 10 items declined and 29 items remained stable during the week under review. He briefed that computing on month-on-month basis, there was only 0.1% increase in CPI inflation in May. The average (July-May) CPI inflation remained 8.8% whereas it was 10.9% last year during the same period, he said. During the meeting, the progress on the earlier decisions of the NPMC forum was also reviewed. It was emphasized that MNFS&R would assume the primary role in raising the production of essential imported food items including edible oil and pulses. The ministry also reaffirmed its resolve to build reserves of essential food items in partnership with the provinces. Ministry of Industries and Production briefed NPMC that there was considerable progress on the issue of determining the ex-mill price of sugar in consultation with the provincial governments and the ministry would come up with the final position on the issue shortly. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics gave a detailed presentation on gap analysis of the prices of essential food items in different markets across the country. Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) briefed the meeting on the strict action being taken against profiteers in the poultry market and the resultant decline in the price of chicken in the country. The commission briefed that their action would continue until the prices were normalized. The finance minister appreciated the efforts of the CCP and said that their active actions against unfair practices in the markets would bring maximum relief to the common man. Punjab chief secretary informed NPMC that PASSCO managing director has been facilitated as per directions of the chair to meet wheat procurement targets of the PASSCO. PBS also shared data on difference between wholesale and retail prices and the interpretation of price variations. The NPMC was also briefed on the intervention of USC in mitigating the inflationary pressure. The finance minister directed to the Utility Stores Corporation to proactively make arrangements for provision of smooth supply of all essential items in the country to control prices of essential items. It will help to ease out the life of common man in the country. Among others, the meeting was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, secretaries of Finance Division and Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), chief secretaries of the provincial governments, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics member, Competition Commission of Pakistan chairperson, Utility Stores MD and other senior officers of various ministries.