Higher food prices at Utility Stores pique Imran Khan

Published: February 13, 2020
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A Reuters file photo of Imran Khan.

A Reuters file photo of Imran Khan.

KARACHI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that Premier Imran Khan has taken notice of the Utility Stores Corporation for not selling edible items of daily use at affordable rates despite the government’s approval of Rs10 billion subsidy to the USC.

The development comes a day after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had approved a subsidy of Rs2 billion per month for a period of five months to the utility stores.

The prime minister directed the USC to sell sugar at Rs68 per kilogramme and ghee at Rs170 per kg, Dr Firdous tweeted citing PM Imran as saying.

In a series of tweets, the PM’s aide also said that 20kg flour bag should be sold at Rs800 while pulses and rice at a rate 10 to 25 per cent lower than the market.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan feels the pain of the people and providing relief and bringing comfort to the life of the masses are the top agenda of the Imran Khan’s government,” she said.

The decision of giving subsidy to the USC came days after the prime minister had ordered a reduction in the prices of food items as his government had not only been drawing scathing criticism from the opposition for the rising inflation, poverty and unemployment rates, but some within its own ranks had also been ringing the alarm bells.

The special assistant also said that the government will ensure the stability in prices of the edible items, their standard of quality and availability at the utility stores.

While briefing the media on Tuesday of the decisions taken at the much-anticipated meeting, Dr Firdous said that the government was also devising a long term strategy to keep a check on prices of essential edible items.

The government’s economic team, the ministry of commerce and other institutions including the Utility Stores Corporation gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister in the meeting, she added.

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