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January 9, 2020

Govt to soon announce ration card scheme: PM Imran

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January 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the government would soon announce a ration card scheme for the poor people, who would be able to get Rs3,000 worth basic commodities per month from the Utility Stores outlets.

The premier said that the government’s relief package of Rs7 billion was aimed at providing basic food items and commodities to salaried and low and middle income groups at subsidised rates through the country’s 4,000 outlets of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC). He expressed these views during his visit to a USC outlet here in G-9 Markaz where he launched the relief package.

He said that the relief package was not only aimed at ensuring the provision of basic commodities including wheat flour, sugar, Ghee, rice and pulses, to the low and middle income classes at cheaper rates but also to check inflationary trends in the open market.

He highlighted that the wheat flour, being provided to people at the USC outlets at subsidised rates of around Rs800 per 20-kg bag, was of high quality and had all the nutritional ingredients, required for good health. The prime minister mentioned that high prices of edible oil in the country were due to its higher rates in the international market, adding, the government was, however, striving to enhance its local produce by encouraging the sunflower and canola growers. Similarly, he added that the government was also striving to boost the cultivation of pulses in the country to check worth $1.5 billion annual imports of pulses.

To a question, the prime minister said that one of main reasons behind inflation and high prices was the role of middlemen who were making profits at the cost of consumers and growers. He said that the provision of basic commodities at USC outlets at cheaper rates will also help regulate the prices in open market.

To another question, the prime minister said that the government had provided Rs7 billion for the relief package and if required, more funds would be allocated to subsidise the basic commodities. He said that after achieving economic stabilisation in the year 2019, the government would now focus on job creation, industrialisation and growth in the year 2020.

Earlier, the prime minister took round of the USC outlet and was briefed by Chairman USC Zulqarnain Ali Khan and Managing Director Umar Lodhi about the relief package, stock position of essential commodities and availability at USC outlets throughout Pakistan as well as the employment of technology to ensure that the subsidy provided by the government reached to the target population.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan were also present on the occasion.