ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has said the government will start giving targeted subsidies from this month on essential commodities including sugar, flour and pulses.
Addressing a news conference, the federal minister said the targeted subsidy will be in the form of cash assistance covering 30 to forty percent population.
The finance minister said the government is also focusing on bolstering agriculture productivity. In the medium to long term, commodity warehouses, cold storages, and agri-malls will be established with the aim to eliminate the role of the middle man and ensure that the farmers get the due price of their products.
He said strategic reserves of major commodities are also being built in order to ensure smooth supplies in the market. The finance minister said that the prices of wheat will witness a decline in the coming days.
Tarin said the government has tried its level best not to fully pass on to the masses the impact of international increase in the prices of commodities.
He pointed out that sugar prices increased by 48 percent in the world market but we only creased its price by 11 percent. Palm oil saw an increase of 50 percent but we increased the price by 33-35 percent. Similarly the prices of crude oil and wheat were not enhanced as per the international market.
The finance minister said the government is also giving attention to enhance the incomes of the people to enhance their purchasing power. Tarin said that Kamyab Pakistan Program will be launched this month in order to enable the weak segments of the society earn their livelihoods.
He said that the results of the growth strategy are visible and the revenue collection is increasing. He said we are on the track to achieve 5 percent growth during the current fiscal year which will also help reduce debt-to-GDP ratio. The finance minister said a board is being established on the privatization of state-owned enterprises on professional lines.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant on Food Security Jamshed Cheema said the prices of flour, sugar, ghee, and pulses would be reduced by December this year. He said the government is targeting on ensuring quality and affordable price of milk and a program to this effect would be unfolded in two weeks.
The Special Assistant said we are also shifting from non-promising crops to promising crops to meet the food demand of the country. He said there has been an increase in prices of energy and food from 34 percent to 129 percent in the world, which made an impact on the prices in Pakistan.