ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday that a big programme of targeted subsidy would be started soon for the poor segments of the society.
The targeted subsidy programme, he explained, will be launched with the joint financial support of the federal and provincial governments, on which Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have already expressed interest, while talks are underway with Sindh and Balochistan to join it.
“The impact of inflation is felt, that is why the government is expanding the scope of health card, farmer card and Ehsaas programme,” he said while addressing the PTI core committee, and expressed concern over the rising price of flour in Sindh.
Sources informed Geo News that the premier has directed authorities to draft a petrol subsidy plan for the low-income segment. The plan to provide low-cost petrol to motorcycles, rickshaws and public transport owners will be presented next week. Sources said that during the meeting, it was decided to form committees at district level to reduce inflation. It was also decided that targeted subsidies will also be provided to low-income people through Utility Stores.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail confirmed that the relevant authorities have been directed to make a plan to provide subsidised petrol to low-income groups. Earlier, Special Assistant for Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar briefed Imran Khan on the Ehsaas targeted subsidy programme. The briefing was attended by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Javan Bakht, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Timur Saleem Jhagra, President National Bank Arif Usmani, chief secretaries of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and senior officials. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin attended the meeting via video link.
Dr Sania Nishtar gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on the preparations for the targeted subsidy programme. The Ehsaas targeted subsidy program will be launched this year to save the underprivileged from inflation.
The meeting was told that a mobile point-of-sale system has been developed for the programme in collaboration with Ehsaas and the National Bank of Pakistan. Ehsaas eligible families will receive discounts on grocery store purchases on specific items through this programme.
The prime minister directed that the targeted subsidy programme be finalised soon. Meanwhile, Imran Khan chaired a meeting on the development of New Balakot City as a tourist hub. The prime minister said, “The government wants to develop new tourist resorts in hilly areas for the promotion of tourism in the country. For this purpose, reputed private investors in the field of tourism and hospitality are being attracted on public private partnership (PPP) mode.”
The prime minister directed the federal and provincial authorities concerned to take all necessary measures to fully facilitate private investors in this regard. He directed KPK government to take over the entire project from ERRA and accomplish it as a tourist resort. The prime minister directed to exclude irrigated land from the project in order to ensure food security in the region.
Earlier, the prime minister was briefed that feasibility study on a Rs19.5 billion project for the development of New Balakot City as a tourist hub on Design-Build-Finance-Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) mode has been completed by Nespak and KPMG. He was told that 63 percent residential plots out of the total 6,753 under the proposed project are reserved for allotment to the local affectees, whereas the remaining 2,480 residential and 575 commercial plots besides 800 apartments would be auctioned to generate finances for the execution of the project.
Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter that continuous decline has been witnessed in the prices of flour, and sugar prices will also go down with start of crushing season. He said the prices of pulses, vegetables, flour and sugar are on the declining trend. He said the people of the country will get relief as the government is committed to overcome inflation.
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