ISLAMABAD   -   Federal Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar Tuesday said that immediate steps would be taken to ensure the availability of toma­toes and onions to the consumer, while all possible efforts would be made to stabilise their prices.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Naveed Qamar to assess availability of tomatoes and onion in the country, said a press release issued here.

During the meeting, it was dis­cussed that the country will face a shortage of tomatoes and onion in the next three months.

The recent floods have heavi­ly damaged the crops resulting in price hike and shortage of these commodities.

The participants agreed in the meeting that import of tomatoes and onions will help to stabilise the commodities prices and will ensure availability in the market.

In order to further facilitate im­port of onions and tomatoes, the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Re­search and Federal Board of Rev­enue will work together. Fur­thermore, they will monitor the situation daily to ensure supply of the commodities to the market.

The meeting was apprised that the private sector is supplier, as well as importer of the two com­modities.

Furthermore, a proposal to the Economic Coordination Commit­tee will be tabled to allow a waiv­er of levies and duties on import of tomatoes and onions, so that the items are available in the mar­ket at a reduced price.

It was discussed in the meeting that import from Iran and Afghan­istan will have minimal impact on the foreign exchange because of special arrangements on trade with these countries.

Ministry of Commerce through Commercial Counsellors and Trade Attachés are in contact with the foreign governments abroad in order to make the arrangements in shortest time.