Wednesday Oct 20, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of the ruling party’s members on Wednesday to discuss the petroleum prices' issue.
The premier has directed relevant authorities to draft a petrol subsidy plan for the low-income segment.
The plan to provide low-cost petrol to motorcycles, rickshaws and public transport owners will be presented next week.
Sources informed Geo News that during the meeting, it was decided to form committees at the district level to reduce inflation.
It was also decided that targeted subsidies will also be provided to low-income people through utility stores.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail confirmed that the relevant authorities have been directed to make a plan to provide subsidised petrol to low-income groups.
The premier said the targeted subsidy programme will be launched with the joint financial support of 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 added that the government is expanding its already introduced initiatives, including health cards, Kisan cards, and Ehsas programme because of the soaring inflation.
During the meeting, 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 Ehsas 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 Ehsas 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 Ehsas and National Bank.
Under the programme, eligible families will receive discounts on the purchase of specific grocery items. Imran Khan directed that the targeted subsidy programme should be finalised as soon as possible.
During the meeting, important issues regarding local government elections in Punjab were discussed, said Chaudhry while briefing the media about the meeting.
The minister said that the premier directed the party leadership to launch a mass communications 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 Ehsas programme
Imran Khan has directed the authorities to increase the subsidy scheme of the Ehsas programme, the minister said.
Shedding light on the expensive prices of flour in Sindh, he said a 20kg bag of flour is more expensive by Rs400 in Sindh than in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to 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 historic high sugarcane production, while cotton production is 60% higher than last year."
He further 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 stated.
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.
The increase in POL products was notified a day after the government hiked power tariff by Rs1.39 per unit which would come into effect from next month.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, the price of kerosene oil had been increased by Rs10.95 per litre while light speed diesel had got costlier by Rs8.84 per litre.
In the current scenario, the ministry had said, the government has absorbed the pressure and provided maximum relief to consumers by keeping Petroleum Levy and Sales Tax to a minimum. Therefore, prices worked out by OGRA have been approved.
The new prices of petroleum products were effective from October 16.