ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan, in the cabinet meeting, had approved multi-pronged strategy to control the fresh wave of price hike in the country.

In a briefing to media about cabinet’s decision, she said he had pledged to go an extra mile to break the nexus of sugar cartels and mafia.

The special assistant said the government had given an opportunity to sugar mafia to bring their stored stalk in the market, otherwise the market would be flooded with sugar and the cartels would have to face a huge loss, adding whosoever would challenge the writ of the government be dealt with iron hands.

She said the prime minister’s economic team along with institutions concerned briefed him in detail about the recent wave of price hike.

She said prime minster had approved relief package of Rs10 billion to stabilize the price of basic commodities as well as constituted a team to regularly monitor and control the prevailing inflation.

According to the relief package, the government would provide Rs2 billion per month to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for the next five months to provide subsidy on wheat, sugar, rice, grains and edible ghee. 20 kg pack of flour would be provided at Rs800, sugar Rs70, and edible ghee Rs175, she said adding 15 to 20 percent prices of rice and grains would be reduced.

With the support of the USC, 2,000 Youth Stores would be opened across the country, the SAPM said adding, these stores would open under the umbrella of “Kamyab Jawan Youth Programme”.

This initiative of the government would provide direct employment to 400,000 youth whereas indirectly 800,000 people would be beneficiary, she said.

Through “Kamyab Jawan Programme” working capital in the shape of interest-free loans would be provided to the youth and apart from that the USC’s 12 cash and carry would be opened in the biggest cities.

It was also decided in the cabinet meeting that the USC would provide basic commodities of day to day use at the subsidized rates to “NanBais” and small tuck shops, she said adding five free-zones would be built alongside the Afghan border to stop illegal smuggling of the basic commodities.

Rashan Cards would be issued before the holy month of Ramazan to help the poor and deserving people to buy commodities of day to day use at 25 to 30 percent cheaper rates than the market price, she said.

She said to stabilize the sugar prices the ban on sugar import had been lifted whereas export of sugar had been embargoed, however, to eliminate the regulatory duty on sugar a comprehensive strategy had been ordered by the prime minister and the economic team was tasked to review taxes on the imports of grains.

She said under the Ehsas Kifalat programme Rs2,000 stipend was being paid to 4.3 million poor women in the country and Ehsas assets programme was going to be launched on 21st of this month.

She said 20,000 women would be benefited with the Ehsas Nutrition programme whereas 100 more langer khanas would be opened during 2020.

She said the prime minister had expressed dissatisfaction on the inquiry report of wheat crises in the country and returned the same with some observation and questionnaire to resubmit the report in fortnight.

She said the prices of electricity and gas were increased due to flawed policies of the previous government and the prime minister had ordered to prepare a report to bring down the prices of electrify and gas which would be made public.

SAPM on health Dr Zafar Mirza updated the prime minister on coronavirus and the situation of Pakistani students strangled in China.