Saturday May 28 2022

Petrol price hike: Govt to provide targeted subsidies to 14m deserving families, says Miftah Ismail

  • "Our priority is to steer the country out of economic crisis," says finance minister. 
  • It’s not possible to end the load shedding as the national exchequer is empty, says Miftah Ismail.
  • We will issue a mobile number for those who are not enrolled in the BISP programme, says Miftah.

ISLAMABAD: Sharing more details about the relief package, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Friday said that the government would provide targeted subsidies to 14 million deserving families as announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his address to the nation, Geo News reported.  

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced that the government will include a Rs28 billion package in the upcoming budget to provide relief to the masses to offset the impact of the petrol price hike.

The prime minister had said that aside from the relief package, the government would immediately provide Rs2,000 for around 85 million people to help them fight the effects of inflation. 

Giving details of PM Shehbaz Sharif’s relief package of Rs28 billion, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the government will provide targeted subsidies to 14 million families, who are living below the poverty line.

Miftah further added that “7.3 million beneficiaries of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) are already getting Rs2000, and the government is planning to add 7 million more people to the database who would receive Rs2000 in terms of fuel subsidy."

“It includes the families whose monthly income is Rs35,000 or less than that and it will benefit 85 million people,” he added.

Those already registered with the BISP programme will receive a message from the government, however, we will issue a mobile number for those who are not enrolled in the BISP programme, said the minister. 

"They will be asked to send their names and CNIC numbers to the phone number (that will be provided by the government), and after the completion of the verification process, which will take 2 to 3 days, the government will add them to the beneficiaries' list," he added.

Agreeing with PPP’s senator Mustafa Nawaz's statement in which he said that “the decision to go to International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be taken by a government with a fresh mandate.”

Miftah said, “He is right, the new government will strike a new deal with the IMF after taking a fresh mandate next year, but this is a coalition government and our priority is to steer the country out of economic crisis and maintain an economic stability.”

“Therefore, we are continuing with the previous IMF programme which was finalized by the PTI government,” he said.

Responding to a question about the load shedding in-country, the finance minister said the previous government did not make any agreement related to LNG and now "we are buying LNG at expensive rates, therefore, currently, it’s not possible to end load shedding as the national exchequer is empty."

“…but the maintenance process of 2500MW out of 7,500MW power plants has been started as these power plants were shut down during the tenure of the previous government,” he added.