To counter the effects of inflating food prices, the federal cabinet on Tuesday approved a detailed package of Rs10 billion subsidies for Utility Stores, Dawn reported.
According to reports, the government will open thousands of stores in Pakistan, moreover, consumer items at subsidised rates will be supplied to 50,000 tandoors and dhabas.
To address the sugar crisis in Pakistan, the cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan also decided to lift the ban on sugar import and regulatory duty on it. Also, the cabinet in its meeting decided to establish five “free zones” along the Pak-Afghan border, where Utility Store Cooperation will set up its stores to curb smuggling.
Under Rs10bn subsidy, a 20 kg bag of wheat flour will be sold for Rs800, sugar will be priced at Rs70 per kg, ghee at Rs175, pulses at Rs15 and rice will be available at Rs20 per kg at Utility Stores.
In the meeting, the cabinet agreed that rupee devaluation against the dollar and the increase in gas and electricity tariffs were some of the reasons for the increase in food items prices. Cabinet also agreed that there would be no further increase in gas and electricity rates.
Advisor to PM on Information and Broadcast Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. addressing a press conference, said, “The government would provide Rs2bn monthly subsidy to the USC for wheat flour, rice, sugar, pulses and ghee. She said the basic objective to give Rs10 billion subsidy was to ensure a sufficient supply of food items through Utility Stores.
The also meeting decided that the government would use Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation as a reservoir to store sufficient quantity of essential items so that in times of crisis these reserves could be utilised.