ISLAMABAD: The government has, once again, decided to shut markets and commercial centres by 8pm daily
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved a relief package of Rs 10 billion to stabilise the price of basic commodities as well as constituted a team to regularly monitor and control the prevailing inflation.
In a briefing to media about federal cabinet’s decisions, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved multi-pronged strategy to control the fresh wave of price hike in the country. She said he has pledged to go an extra mile to break the nexus of sugar cartels and mafia, adding that the government has given an opportunity to sugar mafia to bring their stored stock in the market, otherwise the market will be flooded with sugar and the cartels will have to face a huge loss, adding that whosoever challenges the writ of the government will be dealt with an iron hand.
According to the relief package, the government will provide Rs 2 billion per month to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for the next five months to provide subsidy on wheat, sugar, rice, grains and edible ghee. Twenty-kilogram pack of flour will be provided at Rs 800, sugar Rs 70, and edible ghee at Rs 175, she said, adding that prices of rice and grains will come down by 15 to 20 percent.
With the support of the USC, 2,000 Youth Stores will be opened across the country, the SAPM said, adding that these stores will open under the umbrella of ‘Kamyab Jawan Youth Programme’. This initiative of the government will provide direct employment to 400,000 youth whereas indirectly 800,000 people will benefit from it, she said.
Through ‘Kamyab Jawan Programme’, working capital in the shape of interest-free loans will be provided to the youth and apart from that the USC’s 12 cash and carry stores will be opened in big cities. It was also decided in the cabinet meeting that the USC will provide basic commodities of day to day use at the subsidized rates to Nanbais and small tuck shops, she said, adding that five free zones will be built alongside Afghan border to stop illegal smuggling of the basic commodities. Ration Cards will be issued before the holy month of Ramazan to help the poor and deserving people to buy commodities of day to day use at 25 to 30 percent cheaper rates than the market price, she said.
She said to stabilize the sugar prices, ban on sugar import has been lifted whereas export of sugar has been embargoed. However, to eliminate the regulatory duty on sugar, a comprehensive strategy has been ordered by the prime minister and the economic team has been tasked to review taxes on the imports of grains.
She said under the Ehsas Kifalat programme, Rs 2,000 stipend is being paid to 4.3 million poor women in the country and Ehsas assets programme is going to be launched on 21st of this month.
She said 20,000 women will benefit from the Ehsas Nutrition programme whereas 100 more langer khanas will be opened during year 2020.
She said the prime minister has expressed dissatisfaction on the inquiry report of wheat crises in the country and returned the same with some observation and questionnaire to resubmit the report in a fortnight.
She said the prices of electricity and gas have increased due to flawed policies of the previous government and the prime minister has ordered to prepare a report to bring down the prices of electrify and gas which will be made public.
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