Wednesday September 22, 2021

Utility stores

July 24, 2021

The Utility Stores Corporation was established in 1971 to provide items of daily use to people at affordable prices. We are yet to see whether these stores, which are established all over the country, have been successful in achieving the desired goal. Up until a few years ago, utility stores were quite popular among people as they used to offer essential items at lower prices. However, the ever-increasing cost of running these stores on an outdated model and a significant reduction in government subsidies have made the stores financially unviable and unsustainable. Also, people in urban cities now prefer going to weekly ‘sasta bazaars’ to buy items of daily use where there is a variety of items to choose from. Even in rural areas, those people who live far away from highways generally avoid travelling long distances to buy items from these stores. In cantonment areas, people prefer to visit CSD shops. According to one estimate, there are more than 5,000 utility stores across the country which are being managed by about 14,000 employees. One can only imagine the amount of financial loss being incurred by the USC on a daily basis.

There is a dire need to seriously think about ways to run this organisation in an effective manner.

Cdre (r) Sajjad Ali Shah Bokhari

Islamabad