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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said Monday Prime Minister Imran Khan would announce details of targeted subsidy programme in a few days and the people would start getting relief through the programme from next month.

He said the government was also reducing the sales tax on cooking oil from 17 percent to 8.5 percent, customs duty from Rs 1,000 per tonne to Rs 5,000 per ton besides completely withdrawing the 2 percent additional customs duty that would help ease the cooking oil price by around Rs 50 per kilo.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said the world was passing through a critical period of extremely high commodity prices and Pakistan was no exception. The situation might remain same till March 2022, however as per projection of the international experts the prices of the commodities might start receding to normal level from March to June next year, Asad Umar said.

Asad Umar says inflation expected to remain high till at least March

He said the prices of petroleum products and other commodities were still low in Pakistan compared to other regional countries mainly due to smart lock down policy during COVID-19.

He said the COVID pandemic had badly affected the big economies including US, China, UK and other developed countries where the economic growth went down by over 10 percent.

Rejecting the perception that per capita income in other countries especially in India and Bangladesh was higher therefore their purchasing power is also good, Asad Umar pointed out that poverty rate in Pakistan was far lower compared to India and Bangladesh which meant that the purchasing power in Pakistan was comparatively better.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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