ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday decided to continue giving subsidy to the poor and low-income groups on five essential items — wheat flour, sugar, ghee/edible oil, pulses and rice — in the next fiscal year.
The subsidy was given by the PTI government.
Under the decision, the poor segments of society would get the five items at subsidised rates from all branches of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) in the country.
The prime minister took the decision while presiding over a meeting on USC. Federal ministers Miftah Ismail and Makhdoom Murtaza Mahmood and senior officers attended the meeting.
The prime minister also approved expansion of network of Utility Stores in Karachi.
“The small number of Utility Stores in Karachi is not acceptable in any way and a comprehensive plan for raising the number of Utility Stores in the megacity should be presented within two weeks,” the prime minister said.
“The poor segment of society requires maximum relief and the government is ready to bear any cost for that purpose. Providing relief to poor on essential items is the foremost priority of the government,” Mr Shehbaz Sharif said.
The meeting was told that besides 1,380 franchises, the Utility Stores Corporation was directly running 3,822 stores across the country.
It was decided at the meeting that over 300 new Utility Stores would be opened in Balochistan, Sindh, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Punjab by July 30.
The meeting was further informed that so far, 113 million people had benefitted from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s relief package and got subsidies of Rs60 per kg on wheat flour; Rs21 on sugar; Rs250 on ghee/oil, and Rs15 to Rs20 on pulses and rice.
The meeting was further informed that the provision of cheaper wheat flour was being ensured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through 942 Utility Stores.
Besides, on the special instructions of the prime minister, 1000 new sale points and 200 mobile stores were being added.
About Balochistan, the meeting was informed that after the visit of Prime Minister Sharif to the province, provision of essential commodities at cheaper rates to the province was being ensured.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday called for renewed policy focus and arrangements for resources to address the suffering of refugees across the world.
“From Syria to Palestine to Afghanistan, their plight calls for renewed policy focus and resources,” the prime minister said in a tweet, on the World Refugee Day, terming refugees “the worst victims of wars and conflicts”.
Meanwhile, PM Sharif said it was a right time for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to forge a roadmap for enhancing bilateral economic and trade ties, APP adds. He stated this during a meeting with a delegation of businessmen and investors from Saudi Arabia. The PM discussed the available investment opportunities in Pakistan for the Saudi business community, traders and industrialists.
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022