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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) has sought supplementary grant of Rs 3.371 billion to execute Rs 6.371 billion proposed Ramazan Relief Package 2020-21, to commence from April 1, 2021, sources close to Secretary Industries told Business Recorder.

The MoI&P, argues that each year Ramazan witnesses a hike in prices of essential edibles due to a host of reasons including artificially orchestrated price hike and black marketing. Whereas the law governing control of prices are implemented by the provincial and local governments, the federal government, on its part, provides relief to the general masses across Pakistan during Ramazan by ensuring supply of essential items at a lower ( subsidized) price, through approximately 4,000 outlets of USC. Since 1991, USC has been implementing Ramazan relief package through subsidy provided by the federal government.

The USC has prepared a list of 19 essential items and proposed quantum of price differential on them that may be subsidized under Ramazan Relief Package-2021.

The proposed packaged including expenditure on media campaign (Rs 100 million) amounts to Rs 6.371 billion. The USC has estimated sale of 70,000 MT of flour (Rs 800/20 kg bag) with a subsidy of Rs 30.50 per kg whereas estimated sale of sugar is 50,000 tons at a price of Rs 68 per kg with subsidy of Rs 40 per kg.

The sale of Ghee is expected to be 30,000 MT at Rs 200/kg with subsidy of Rs 43 per kg while sale of edible oil is likely to be 14,000 MT with a subsidy of Rs 20/kg.

The amount of subsidy on Daal Chana will be Rs 15/ kg, Daal Moong washed, Rs 10 per kg, Daal Mash washed Rs 10 per kg, Daal Masoor, Rs 30/kg, while gram, Rs 25/kg, Baisen ( Chakki), Rs 20/kg, dates, Rs 10/kg, rice Basmati, Rs 10/ kg, rice Sella, Rs 10/kg, broken rice, Rs 12/kg, squashes& syrups ( 1500 ml bottle), Rs 25 per bottle, squashes & syrups ( 800 ml bottle), Rs 20 per bottle, black tea, Rs 20 per packet, milk (UHT), Rs 20 per kg and spices 10 per cent.

The estimated subsidy on flour will be Rs 2.135 billion, sugar, Rs 2 billion, Ghee, Rs 1.290 billion, edible oil, Rs 280 million, Daal Chana, Rs 37.50 million, Daal Moong washed, Rs 10 million, Daal Mash washed Rs 5 million, Daal Masoor, Rs 30 million, white gram, Rs 62.50 million, Basin, Rs 50 million, dates, Rs 20 million, rice Basmati, Rs 25 million, rice Sella, Rs 10 million, broken rice, Rs 36 million, squashes 1500 ml bottle, Rs 15 million, squashes 800 ml bottle, Rs 40 million and spices, Rs 125 million. The cost of awareness campaign of Ramzan Relief Packages 2021 on electronic and print media is Rs 100 million.

Additionally, USC has also planned to reduce the prices of essential food and non-food items under different brands from 5 to 10% by obtaining special discount from the vendors / suppliers and reducing its own profit margin to provide relief to the consumers.

USC has proposed implementation of Ramazan Package from April 1, 2021, as Ramzan 2021 is likely to commence from 15 April, 2021. According to the summary, funds amounting to Rs. 3.00 billion have been earmarked to the USC for Ramzan Relief Package in budget estimates 2020-21; given the quantum of the subsidy involved under the Package, USC will require allocation of additional funds amounting to Rs. 3.371 billion, for the purpose, through supplementary grant during current financial year 2020-21. The Ministry of Industries and Production has submitted the following proposals for consideration and approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet:(i) Ramazan Relief Package-2021, entailing subsidy of Rs. 6.371 billion, may be approved for implementation from April 1, 2021; (ii) allocation of additional funds amounting to Rs. 3.371 billion, for the purpose, through supplementary grant during current financial year 2020-21; and (iii) upfront release of total funds amounting to Rs. 6.371 billion to USC may be approved, for ensuing timely purchases of essential items and other contingent arrangements.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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