Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has announced that preparations for the budget for the new financial year have started, vowing to eliminate the causes of inflation in order to provide relief to the people.
In a brief informal conversation with the media on Monday, Tarin emphasised that timely and accurate data helps in improving the availability of essential commodities.
The finance minister had an introductory meeting with the secretary planning and chief statistician. The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) member Muhammad Sarwar Gondal, Economic Adviser Dr Imtiaz Ahmad and senior officials of the Finance Division.
The meeting was held to evaluate the current techniques of data collection and analysis used by the PBS.
The minister assigned the PBS to adopt a practice of regularly comparing the difference in wholesale and retail prices of essential food items in different districts across the country.
The PBS would highlight the difference in prices in different provinces as well, the minister said, adding that the data, if available on real time basis on the PBS dashboard, would help maintain strategic reserves of the essential commodities across the country.
The meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee is expected to take place within a week's time and the PBS will share its data analysis report in it.
The minister appreciated the technology based data gathering techniques followed by the bureau after doing away with the paper-based approach, directing them to follow such methods that could further assist in making the data more objective, targeted and authentic for the purpose of comparison and analysis.
“Addressing the root cause of inflation by devising a new hierarchy of administrative control would provide the much-needed relief to the masses,” the minister added.
Earlier, the chief statistician gave a detailed briefing to the new minister on evidence-based data collection techniques followed by the bureau in compiling figures particularly for Consumer Price Index and Sensitive Price Indicator.
The chief statistician also apprised the minister of the changes they were about to introduce in the system to make it more comprehensive.
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