Govt to provide Rs6bn to USC to rein in  prices of essential items: Imran Khan

PM says trade markets to be set up in border areas to end smuggling

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our correspondent

Islamabad

The government has decided to immediately provide Rs. 6 billion to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) to ensure provision of essential items including flour, ghee, sugar, rice and pulses to the people at reduced rates.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Friday, which was held to discuss ways for providing relief to masses and bringing down the prices of essential commodities.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister said it is the priority of the government to provide relief to the masses. It is our utmost effort to provide special relief to the lower income and poverty stricken groups.

Imran Khan said that the government took difficult decisions in view of the difficult economic situation. These decisions; however, helped stabilize the economy. He said the economic indicators have improved and these will improve further in the days to come.  He said despite difficult situation, every possible effort will be made to provide relief to the masses.

The Prime Minister directed the administration of Utility Stores Corporation to ensure immediate provision of essential commodities to the people after receiving the amount of Rs. 6 billion to it.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan announced that the government will immediately provide Rs6 billion to the Utility Stores Corporation to bring down the prices of essential commodities.

“The amount will substantially bring down the prices of flour, edible oil, sugar, rice and pulses,” she said in a tweet.

The premier took the decision after the chairman and managing director of the USC assured the government that with the injection of Rs. 6 billion, prices of essential items will drop down significantly.

Minister for Communications Murad Saeed told the meeting that the vast network of Pakistan Post could also be used to provide essential commodities to the masses. He said Pakistan Post will also soon launch a home delivery service to supply essential items to the people at their doorsteps. The Chairman and Managing Director of Utility Stores Corporation told the Prime Minister said provision of Rs. 6 billion to the corporation will help visibly bring down the prices of essential commodities.

The Prime Minister was informed that the funds will help reduce the twenty kg flour bag price by Rs. 132, sugar Rs. 9 per kilogram, ghee Rs. 30 per kg, Rs. 20 rice per kilogram and the prices of pulses will also go down by fifteen rupees. The Prime Minister was also informed about the steps being taken to check corruption in the Utility Stores Corporation and ensure adequate supplies of essential commodities at the utility outlets.The Prime Minister directed that information technology should be used to check corruption in the Utility Stores.

Meanwhile, while chairing another meeting on establishment of trade markets in border areas, PM Imran announced to set up trade markets along the border areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in a step to encourage legal business with neighboring countries including Iran and Afghanistan.

PM Imran said that that the government was committed to eliminate the menace of smuggling and added that it was very destructive for the country’s economy.He said, “Smuggling effects national resources, income and destroy industry.” The prime minister said that he was aware of the problems being faced by people particularly the youth in border areas.The meeting was also briefed over a comprehensive strategy about substitute businesses in the border areas.

The Prime Minister said the scourge of smuggling not only destroys the national economy but also affects country’s resources and income, besides causing havoc to the industry.

Imran Khan said the government is determined to control smuggling but it is also cognizant of the economic difficulties faced by people and youth of the border areas.

He appreciated the proposal of establishment of trade markets for providing the people of border areas an alternative livelihood.

He expressed hope that these markets would accelerate economic activities and provide business opportunities to youth.

The Prime Minister directed to finalize the proposal for establishing trade markets in border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan sooner.

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