ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed frustration over the failure of federal and provincial authorities to bring down the prices of flour and sugar and said that he would be visiting provincial headquarters to direct authorities to put bringing down prices of essential goods as their top priority.
Sources told Pakistan Today that during the meeting of the federal cabinet, a debate was carried out regarding the need to bring down the skyrocketing prices and inflation, especially the rising prices of flour and sugar.
The premier expressed frustration over the failure to reduce prices of wheat, flour and sugar, and asked why the prices of sugar did not come down despite reports of abundant stocks.
The prime minister also directed all government departments to give their input for the eradication of inflation and said that the ministers should make eradication of inflation their top priority.
The federal cabinet agreed that the main challenge for the government is inflation, while the majority of the ministers expressed concerns over the expensive goods.
The federal cabinet also discussed the opposition’s targeting of state institutions and apolitical individuals. It decided to hold power shows across the country under the public mobilisation plan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with the first such public meeting to be held in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
In this regard, the Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that such public meetings must be held without compromising the standard operating procedures (SoPs) of Covid-19. He added that the coronavirus is spreading again and precautions should be observed.
PM Imran has decided to strictly deal with those who are an obstacle to the elimination of inflation. The premier will consult with federal departments and provincial governments in this regard.
Reportedly, strict measures will be taken in Punjab, KP and Islamabad to reduce inflation. In addition, special measures will be taken in other provinces and regions.
PM Imran also convened a meeting in Lahore to discuss the reduction in prices of essential commodities and measures, including special economic packages, Sasta Bazaars and the taking of strict actions against hoarders.
During the meeting, the chief minister and chief secretary briefed the premier on important decisions taken to curb inflation.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Punjab Inam Ghani would also be given an important task related to inflation and stockpiling. PM Imran will also visit KP and Balochistan and for similar consultation meetings.
Moreover, the federal cabinet was also informed about the rise in the number of new cases in the current month as compared to the figures of July and August. It was pointed out that the positivity rate has risen to 2 per cent, while the number of deaths has also gone up into the double digits.
The cabinet said that the nation should adopt precautionary measures to avoid a second wave of the pandemic, including use of face mask and other safety SOPs. The cabinet noted with satisfaction the government’s effective strategy to cope with the situation, which had gained worldwide acknowledgement.
On behalf of the office-holders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq presented a donation cheque worth Rs1,033,933 to the prime minister for his coronavirus relief fund.
On wheat situation, the cabinet expressed commitment to ensure the availability of ample wheat across the country as well as controlling its prices.
The cabinet was briefed over the import of wheat reserves in the country and the commodity procured by the public sector.
It was informed that the Punjab government was releasing 17,000 to 20,000 tonnes of wheat per day, to be increased to 25,000 tonnes. The Sindh government is releasing 85,000 tonnes of wheat from October 21 to 31.
The meeting was apprised that the Punjab government had assured availability of wheat at utility stores. Similarly, the Sindh government has assured supply to flour mills as per their demand.
The prime minister directed detailed report on wheat and sugar in the next cabinet meeting which should mention the prices and requirements of commodities.
The meeting was briefed over the reserves, import and prices of sugar and informed that the process of physical verification had been started in line with the Wajid Zia report.
The cabinet was told that an average of 0.2 to 0.25 million tonnes of sugar was recorded and a decision was taken for import to meet requirements. In the next few days, 0.2 million tonne sugar will reach the country.
The crushing season will start in the next 20 days, and a fine of Rs0.5 million will be levied in case of delay in crushing process. The Punjab government, in this regard, has already made an amendment in the law.
The cabinet gave the approval to set up an ad-hoc management committee of Gun and Country Club.