PM seeks proposal for reducing prices of food items

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of rising prices of perishable products, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday asked relevant ministries to come up with a workable solution to bring down prices of essential commodities.

Presiding over a meeting on measures to control prices of commodities and providing relief to the masses, the prime minister said that he wanted to convene a meeting of the ministers concerned on Jan 18.

Tomato prices recently went up in Punjab and Islamabad to a maximum level of Rs160 per kg owing to a transport strike. The Sindh-based transporters were on strike owing to an increase in toll tax which resulted in stoppage of supply of tomatoes from the province.

Currently, tomatoes are being supplied to the market from Sindh. Tomato crop in Punjab will ripen in March and April. The end of the transporters’ strike will lead to a drop in tomato prices in the coming weeks, according to a senior official in the Ministry of Food Security.

The official said potato supplies from Punjab would be in full swing in the later part of the current month and in February, which would lead to a drop in its prices.

Convenes meeting of relevant ministries on 18th

A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister expressed concern over the price hike and directed the ministries to take steps that really provided relief to the people. According to the source, the prime minister said that he wanted a detailed meeting on price control of essential commodities to provide relief to the masses.

An official statement issued after the meeting said the government would make all-out efforts to provide maximum relief to the people despite a difficult economic situation. The PM asserted that the government’s only priority was to provide relief to the masses

He directed the ministries and departments concerned to present reports on implementation of measures about public relief and its results within two days. “The government is aware of hardships being faced by the people due to difficult economic situation and the economic reforms introduced by the government,” the prime minister said.

Mentioning his government’s measures for providing relief to the poor people, Mr Khan said the government had allocated Rs190 billion for the Ehsaas programme and health insurance worth Rs720,000 was being provided to the needy under the Sehat Insaf Card scheme. Similarly, the government has provided Rs7bn subsidy to Utility Stores Corporation to enable it to reduce prices of essential commodities. The subsidy is being provided on five commodities — rice, sugar, flour, oil/ghee and pulses.

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