Govt takes measures to control price hike: Zain Qureshi

ISLAMABAD, Mar 1 (APP): Parliamentary Secretary on Finance MNA Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi said that government has taken various measures to control the price hike to provide relief to the general public.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly during Question Hour, he said that the prices of food commodities and general items have not increased.

He said that the inflation rates during last three years are as under “Fiscal Year 2018-19: 6.8%, Fiscal Year 2019-20 10.7 % and Fiscal Year 2020-21 (July June) 8.2%”.

He said that Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved import of wheat and sugar to ensure availability at reasonable prices and smooth supply of these items.

Makhdoom Zain Qureshi said that the government allowed wheat total import of 3.23 million tons out of which 1.89 million tons will be import by public sector and 1.34 million tons by private sector, adding that ECC banned sugar export and allowed its import 0.13 million ton by Trade Corporation of Pakistan and 0.137 million tons by private sector.

In a written reply, the ministry of Finance and Revenue further said that Finance Minister is weekly chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meetings to ensure smooth supply of essential items and to monitor the prices with the consultation of provincial government and federal organizations.

Government is also expanding the network of Sasta Bazaars and Utility Stores outlets for provision of smooth supply of daily use items, adding that the Competition Commission of Pakistan is taking proactive measures to control cartelization and under profiteering.

The District Price Control Committees are actively monitoring the prices of essential items to ensure their availability at reasonable prices.

The ministry further said that to provide relief to the general public for minimizing adverse impact of COVID-19, Rs. 124 trillion have been allocated.

ECC approved Rs. 50 billion technical supplementary grant (TSG) for Utility Stores Corporation under Prime Minister’s Relief package out of which Rs. 10 billion has been released.

Qureshi told the Parliament that till 19-02-2021, Rs.179.3 billion has been disbursed under Ehsaas Program to 14.8 million beneficiaries. In FY 2021 allocation for Ehsaas program has been increased from Rs.187 billion to Rs. 208 billion. Panagahs for jobless and poor has been extended to provide meals and shelter for unemployed, adding that for wheat procurement, Rs. 280 billion has been provided to PASSCO.

He said, the facility has been provided to pay electricity and gas bills in installments for those consumers whose electricity consumption is upto 300 units and gas bills upto Rs.2000. The facility covered 75 per cent of power consumers and 81 per cent of gas consumers.