Dar wants potato price back to normal in 3 days

* Warns of lifting taxes, levies on import if price not normalised

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday directed bringing the price of potato back to the “normal level” within 72 hours, warning that otherwise all the taxes and levies on the import of the potato would be lifted.
The finance minister gave this direction while chairing a meeting that was held at the Finance Ministry to review the prices of agricultural products in the country. 
He also took cognisance of the manipulated prices of potato of Rs 50 per kilogram in the local market. 
“The Finance Minister, after listening to the stakeholders decided that if the prices of the potato are not brought to the normal level within a time span of three days (72 hours) then all the taxes and levies on the import of the potatoes will be lifted to bring the prices to a level less than Rs. 30 per kilogram,” Ishaq Dar said. 
He concluded that the profiteers will not be allowed to manipulate excess margins by holding supplies to the market.
 In his 2nd meeting in the last three days over the prices of the agricultural products, the Finance Minister was informed through an in-depth briefing by the concerned officials about the production, supply, consumption and storage chain of the Potato. 
e was informed that there is almost 1.1 million tons of surplus potato in the Country and the prices of potato are being artificially manipulated at a much higher level by the hoarders, speculators and middlemen. 
He was informed that in a neighboring country potato is being sold at much less price.
The Finance Minister also said that the government is very serious on keeping the prices of the essential commodities at appropriate level and it will take all necessary steps to devise expeditious mechanism to bring down the prices. 
The meeting was also attended by Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Dr. Farrukh Javed, Minister of agriculture Punjab, Dr Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary, Seerat Asghar Jaura, Secretary NFS & Reserch, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Shahid Mahmood, Special Assistance to Finance Minister and other senior officials of the Federal and Punjab government.

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