ISLAMABAD: The Ramazan Relief Package, valued at approximately Rs4 billion, will take effect from today (Thursday, August 5), the government has announced.
The package includes a Rs2-billion subsidy on various edible commodities, a Rs1-billion subsidy on sugar and a Rs1-billion subsidy on 1,000 other commodities, Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation (USC), Muhammad Arif Khan said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.
“The federal government has approved a historic subsidy of Rs2 billion on various edible items including flour, ghee, oil, grams, basin and dates,” he said, adding that the subsidy on sugar is in addition to this.
The USC MD also said commodity suppliers have agreed to supply commodities to the USC on discounted as opposed to market rates, and added that the USC would pass on these items to the consumers, enabling them to get relief of a further Rs1 billion.
“Collectively, the package would provide relief of Rs4 billion to the people during the holy month,” Khan said. He added that the package would be applicable till the last day of Ramazan.
The USC MD said that, under the package, sugar would be available at Rs55 per kilogramme at Utility Stores – as opposed to the rate of Rs65-70 currently prevailing in the open market. Similarly, he added, a 20 kg flour bag would be available at Rs300 instead of Rs580.
Utility ghee would be available at Rs103 per kg, compared to the Rs140-148 per kg rate of different brands of ghee in the open market.
The MD said that dates would be available at Rs88 per kg as opposed to the open market rate of Rs130. Basin (gram flour), which is available at Rs75 in the open market, would be available at Rs58 at Utility Stores.
To facilitate the people, said Khan, sugar packets of 5 kg and 2 kg would be available at USC outlets.
Regarding sales targets for Ramazan, he said that 50,000 metric tons of ghee, 5,000 metric tons of gram pulses, 3,000 metric tons of white gram, 3,000 metric tons of basin and 4,000 metric tons of dates, would be sold during the month. The sale of sugar would also be doubled as compared to other months of the year, he added.
He told the media that, as opposed to the previous subsidy of Rs2 per kg on sugar, this year the government would be providing relief of Rs8.
Khan said that the USC had paid taxes of about Rs4 billion to the federal government during the last fiscal year. He said that the corporation has also surpassed last year’s sales target of Rs48 billion, hitting Rs51 billion during the period.
To a question about the flood-affected people, the USC MD said that about 100,000 food bags have been distributed among the affected people through government representatives of their respective areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.
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