LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government is fully aware of the sufferings of people caused by inflation and working hard to provide maximum relief to them by taking sustainable steps.
The premier was earlier briefed on price control measures, development schemes and law and order at a meeting with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar during his visit to Punjab’s capital on Friday.
Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib later briefing the media quoted him as saying, “Price control committees have been mobilised at the district and tehsil levels to control inflation. Indiscriminate crackdown on profiteers and hoarders will continue.”
Besides Mr Buzdar, Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal and Inspector General of Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan attended the meeting.
The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to ensure timely completion of all ongoing development projects.
Later, Mr Habib told the media that the government was practically launching a food support programme and the premier presided over the meeting to oversee the steps being taken by the Punjab government in this regard.
After the 18th Amendment, price control was a provincial subject yet the federal government was taking every step to control inflation, said the state minister who was accompanied by the newly appointed Punjab government spokesman Hasaan Khawar.
In reference to protests against inflation, Mr Habib said a group of ‘politically unemployed’ people were trying to exploit the issue of price hike. “They can try as much as they can,” he said.
Earlier, the state minister tweeted that foreign remittances increased by 12.5 per cent to reach $8 billion and exports increased to $7 billion in the first quarter of the current financial year. He said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had collected Rs1,395 billion in taxes in the first quarter, which was up by 38pc. He said textile exports rose by 28pc to US $4.437 billion whereas exports had risen by 42.7pc to $635 million. Large-scale manufacturing also increased by 7.5pc in the months of July and August, he added.
“After 30 years, a prime minister had turned his attention towards agriculture sector and surplus produce would ensure Pakistan’s food security,” Mr Habib said.
According to preliminary reports, sugarcane production was expected to increase by 25pc, maize by 18pc cotton by 60pc and rice by 18pc, he said, while expressing the hope that next year wheat production would also increase.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that every family in Punjab, too, would be able to have up to Rs1 million health insurance coverage every year through Sehat Insaf Card.
The minister tweeted that through this extensive facility, quality treatment would be available to everyone from the poorest to the middle class. He said the cardholders would be free to use them at clinic and hospital of their choice. Big relief, he said, would be given on health, education and the four basic necessities including flour, sugar, pulses and ghee.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021