On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the government is all set to launch a new ration card scheme for the deserving. Under the latest scheme, impoverished citizens will be able to acquire essential commodities worth Rs. 3,000 at all utility store outlets.

PM Khan visited a utility store in G-9 Markaz, Islamabad, and officially launched a relief package of Rs. 7 billion. The relief package will enable Pakistanis to buy commodities such as flour, oil, sugar, rice, and legumes from more than 4,000 outlets of utility stores at subsidized rates. PM said that utility stores provide high-quality products to low- and middle-income segments of society at a much lower rate than the open market.

For example, 1 kg of sugar is available at utility stores for Rs. 68 whereas it is available for Rs.75 in the open market. Moreover, a 20kg bag of flour is available for Rs. 800 at the stores. Retailers in the open market sell the same bag of flour for around Rs. 900 – 1000.

Prime Minister attributed the relatively higher prices of edible oil to high rates in the international market. The government is encouraging farmers to increase the yield of sunflower and canola to bring oil prices down. The government also intends to increase the production of pulses to check the Rs. 1.5 billion import bill.

Imran Khan also mentioned middlemen, who make exorbitant profits from both consumers and farmers, as one of the reasons behind high inflation. The government will commit more funds to the relief package if needed, says the Prime Minister.

While addressing the media, the PM said that they are focused on achieving economic stabilization in 2019. The government will focus on job creation, industrialization, and growth in 2020 after achieving stabilization in the past year.

Chairman Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Zulqarnain Ali Khan and Managing Director USC Umar Lodhi accompanied the PM during the visit to the utility store outlet. Both officials briefed PM Khan about the stock position and availability of essential commodities at all outlets across the country.

Via: The News

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