Govt to reduce prices of basic food items: Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday announced that the government will come up with various measures to reduce the prices of basic food items in the upcoming federal cabinet meeting scheduled on Tuesday

“I understand the difficulties ordinary people including salaried class are confronting and have decided, come what may, my government will be announcing various measures that will be taken to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man in cabinet on Tuesday,” the prime minister tweeted. He said at the same time all the relevant government agencies have launched an in-depth probe into the flour and sugar price hikes. “The nation should rest assured that all those responsible will be held accountable and penalised,” he remarked.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics last week reported that the inflation rate had risen to 14.6 per cent in January from 12.6 per cent in the previous month, scaling the highest level in 12 years. Inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), edged up 1.97 per cent over the previous month. Last time, the highest inflation in the country was recorded at 17 per cent in the year 2007-08. The data released showed that higher food prices, particularly of wheat and flour, pulses, sugar, gur and edible oil, were the largest driver of overall inflation in January.

Taking notice of widespread criticism of the government over unprecedented inflation in the country, Prime Minister Imran on Saturday had directed members of his economic team to take immediate steps to bring down the prices of basic food commodities – especially wheat, wheat flour, sugar, rice and pulses – within a fortnight. The prime minister categorically told the economic team that he wanted to see the prices of essential commodities coming down quickly and that he wanted results in just 15 days.

On Friday the prime minister approved a summary seeking to halt the export of 350,000 tons of sugar and allow the import of 300,000 tons of sugar through the private sector.

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