PM Imran Khan directs authorities to draft petrol subsidy plan

Prime Minister Imran Khan. — Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directed  the  authorities to draft a petrol subsidy plan for low-income individuals.

Sources told Geo News that during a meeting of the ruling party’s members to discuss the rising prices of petroleum,  it was revealed that the plan to provide low-cost petrol to motorcycles, rickshaws and public transport owners will be presented next week.

Last week, the PTI-led government had announced a massive price hike in petroleum products, increasing the per litre cost of petrol by Rs10.49 and high-speed diesel by Rs12.44 for the next fortnight.

It was also decided that committees at the district level must be formed to reduce inflation, the sources said.

Moreover, they said that it was decided that targeted subsidies will also be provided to low-income people through Utility Stores.

Confirming the news, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said relevant authorities have been directed to make a plan to provide subsidised petrol to low-income groups.

The premier, during the meeting, said the targeted subsidy programme will be launched with joint financial support by the federal and provincial governments.

He revealed that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have already expressed interest, meanwhile, discussions are underway with Sindh and Balochistan.

“A large targeted subsidy programme for the poor will be launched soon,” he announced.

PM Imran Khan said that the government is expanding its already introduced initiatives, including health cards, Kisan cards, and the Ehsaas programme because of the soaring inflation.

During the meeting, PM Imran Khan expressed concerns over rising flour prices in Sindh.

Earlier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar briefed PM Imran Khan on the Ehsaas programme.

The briefing was attended by the Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Timur Saleem Jhagra, National Bank President Arif Usmani, Chief Secretary Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and senior officials.

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin joined via video link.

Nishtar gave a detailed briefing to the premier on the preparations for the targeted subsidy programme.

“The Ehsaas targeted subsidy programme will be launched soon this year to save the underprivileged from inflation,” she revealed.

Sharing further details, she said a mobile point-of-sale system has been developed for the programme in collaboration with Ehsaas and National Bank.

Under the programme, eligible families will receive discounts on the purchase of specific grocery items. PM Imran Khan directed that the targeted subsidy programme  be finalised as soon as possible.

‘PM expresses concerns over rising wheat prices in Sindh’

During the meeting, important issues regarding local government elections in Punjab were discussed, said Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry while briefing the media about the meeting.

The minister said that the premier directed the party leadership to launch a mass communication campaign, asking them to release city-wise and district-wise schedules for the preparation of local government elections.

Chaudhry revealed that before the meeting of the core committee, the Prime Minister presided over another meeting regarding the Ehsaas programme.

Imran Khan has directed the authorities to increase the subsidy scheme of the Ehsaas programme, the minister said.

Shedding light on the expensive prices of flour in Sindh, he said a 20kg bag of flour is Rs 400 more expensive in Sindh than in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to a continuous delay in the supply of wheat by the Sindh government.

“We are constantly urging the Sindh government to increase the supply of wheat so that the price of flour in Sindh can be reduced,” he added.

“This year is expected to witness a historically high sugarcane production, while cotton production is 60% higher than last year.”

He added that flour prices are declining, while sugar prices will drop as soon as the crushing season begins.

Prices of pulses, vegetables, sugar and flour are also on a downward trend.

“If this trend continues, the rise in prices of petroleum products will provide some relief to the people,” the minister said.

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