ISLAMABAD: In a widely anticipated move, the government on Friday decided to immediately provide Rs6 billion to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for providing consumers with essential items at reduced rates. The Rs6 billion injection will enable the USC to provide essential items like flour, ghee, sugar, rice and pulses to the consumers at reduced rates.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan here. It was the follow-up of Thursday’s meeting attended by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Special Assistant to the PM (SAPM) Dr. Sania Nishtar, secretaries finance, planning, communications, USC head and chief commissioner Islamabad.
Imran said it was the government’s priority to provide relief to the masses and the poverty-stricken groups. Referring to the government’s policies, he said the government had taken difficult decisions in view of a difficult economic situation.
These decisions, however, helped stabilise the economy, he said, pointing out that the economic indicators had improved and these would improve further in the coming days. He contended that despite a difficult situation, every possible effort would be made to provide relief to the masses.
He directed the USC administration to immediately provide essential commodities to the people after receiving the amount. Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed suggested that the vast network of Pakistan Post could also be used to provide essential commodities to the masses.
He informed the forum that the Pakistan Post would soon launch a home delivery service to supply essential items to the people on their doorsteps. Chairman and managing director USC told the prime minister that provision of Rs6 billion would help the corporation to bring down the prices of essential commodities.
The prime minister was informed that the funds would help reduce a 20kg flour bag price by Rs132, sugar by Rs09 per kilogram, ghee by Rs30 per kg, and resultantly the prices of pulses would also go down by Rs15 per kg.
Imran was also informed about the steps being taken to check corruption in the Utility Stores Corporation and ensure adequate supply of essential commodities at the utility outlets. The prime minister directed that information technology should be used to check corruption in the Utility Stores Corporation.
Meanwhile, chairing another meeting, the prime minister expressed the government's commitment to effectively check smuggling to strengthen economy. The meeting was focused on establishment of trade markets in the border areas.
Imran said the scourge of smuggling not only destroyed economy, but also affected the country's resources and income, besides wreaking havoc on the industry. Imran said the government was determined to control smuggling and was also cognizant of economic difficulties faced by people and youth in the border areas.
He appreciated the proposal for establishment of trade markets for providing the people of border areas with an alternative livelihood.
He expressed hope that these markets would accelerate economic activities and provide business opportunities to youth. The prime minister directed that proposals be finalized for establishing trade markets in the border areas of KP and Balochistan at the earliest.
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