Govt’s economic team proposes Rs10-15 billion package for utility stores
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: The PTI government’s economic team has proposed a package worth Rs10-15 billion for utility stores in the country, as well as a recommendation to bump up their number during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Geo News reported on Monday.
Government’s relief package for food items would be limited to the utility stores as no plan had been devised to subsidies commodities’ prices at private stores.
To set up utility stores, a loan worth Rs500,000 would be provided as part of the Kamyab Jawan Programme. In the initial phase, the government plans to establish 1500 such stores.
PM Imran in the meeting warned of stern action against those responsible for artificially hiking up wheat and sugar prices.
Chairing a meeting of government and party spokespersons, the premier also refuted rumours surrounding the dismissal of State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir and Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Both, he added, were here to stay.
Last week, PM Imran launched a “grand operation” against those responsible for the wheat crisis that took hold of the country. Wheat flour prices skyrocketed across Pakistan in January as the staple food was found in scarce quantity.
The Prime Minister’s Office ordered the provincial governments, chief commissioners, and deputy commissioners (DC) to take stern action against the culprits.
Special Advisor to PM on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, had said that the prime minister had taken steps to bring stability in wheat prices.
A report sent to the prime minister revealed that senior government officials and politicians were involved in creating the wheat crisis. In some parts of the country, officials didn’t increase wheat quota of flour mills to generate the crisis.
FBR Chairperson Shabbar Zaidi also became the target of rumours that he was about to be replaced by the prime minister after he went on an indefinite period of leave on grounds of ill health.
Last month, it was reported that Chairperson FBR Shabbar Zaidi is on an indefinite period of leave from his official duties on grounds of ill health.
Shaikh, in an interview with a private news channel, shared that the government may decide to change the Chairperson FBR if he does not recover quickly as the government also plans to introduce a mini-budget.
“The chairperson FBR is ill and we hope he recovers quickly,” Shaikh said in the interview.
Earlier, Zaidi had gone on a sick leave from January 6 to January 19. This had led to rumours that there was a rift in the government’s economic team. However, those rumours were rejected by the FBR.