KARACHI: A reduction of Rs4.67 per litre in diesel, effective from March 1, 2016, has not had an impact on the cost of essential commodities.
Traders said there was no word from companies and wholesale dealers regarding any cut in prices of goods. Traders blamed transporters for taking the issue of price cut in diesel not seriously.
“Transporters have neither reduced transportation charges nor intimated any downward revision. They are charging pre-March 1 rates for bringing commodities from up country,” Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA) Chairman Anis Majeed said.
He added that whenever diesel prices went up, transporters instantly demanded additional charges for ferrying goods.
He anticipated a meagre 50 paisa to Re1 per kg cut in the wholesale prices of sugar, wheat, rice and pulses as an overall impact of diesel price reduction. He claimed the overall market condition in Dandia Bazaar, the main commodity market, was quite slow in terms of demand.
The market is already facing an oversupply situation due to huge imports and improved supplies from production areas, he added.
According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), import of pulses swelled to 569,157 tonnes worth $350 million in July-January 2015-16 as compared to 367,655 tonnes ($224m) in the same period last fiscal year.
Multinational food giant Nestle has already increased the price of ‘Everyday’ powdered milk by Rs25 on a 1kg pack to Rs725 and Rs20 on a 400-gram pack to Rs340 last month.
Local dairy farmers are already flexing their muscles for increasing fresh milk prices by Rs5 per litre despite a drop in transportation charges.
Karachi Retail Grocers Group (KRGG) General Secretary Farid Qureshi said that there has been no signal for lowering prices so far from distributors of any local or multinational food companies.
He said the federal and provincial governments should check the producers of food items and force them to slash the prices.
Haji Shahjehan, president of Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market (Super Highway), said prices of vegetables have not come down yet as there was no change in transportation charges.
“We have started arguing with the transporters for delaying the impact of diesel price cut on their transportation cost,” he said.
He added that usually transporters take a week to pass on the decline in diesel prices while they immediately jack up transportation charges in case the government increases diesel prices.He said the situation would become clear in one week.
For intra-city movement, transporters use CNG Suzuki pickups for distribution of vegetables and fruits in city markets. From Jodia Bazaar, Suzuki pickups are seen moving goods to other areas. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fitted vehicles are also used for transportation of goods.