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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet was informed that the government would be providing a subsidy of Rs7.334 billion, out of the total Rs8.280 billion Ramzan relief package for 2022, on three essential items sugar, ghee, and Atta (flour).

The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has approved Rs8.280 billion Ramzan Relief Package to provide 19 essential items at subsidized rates at USC during the upcoming Ramzan. The meeting was informed Rs7.334billion subsidy on three essential items would be Rs2.534 billion on Atta (flour), Rs750 million on sugar, and Rs4.050 billion on ghee.

Of the total 19 essential items, Rs300 million subsidy on oil, Rs30 million on daal channa, Rs10 million on daal moong washed, Rs30 million on white gram, Rs50 million on baisen, Rs20 million on dates, Rs25 million on rice basmati, and Rs10 million on rice sella, etc.

The government would be providing Rs36.2 per kg subsidy on sale of 70,000 metric tons Atta at the USC during Ramzan followed by Rs15 per kg subsidy on sale of 50,000 tons sugar, Rs135 per kg subsidy on sale of 30,000 metric tons ghee, Rs20 per kg on sale of 15,000 metric tons oil, Rs14 per kg on daal channa, Rs20 on daal moong washed, etc.

The meeting was further stated that since 1991, the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan has been extending Ramzan goods package as approved by the government across its network with a special focus on the poor and the needy.

Historically, 19 essential items have been sold at subsidized prices at USC outlets across Pakistan.

In addition, the USC also negotiates better discounts from suppliers and has been able to offer reduced prices on other 1,000 plus items. Since Ramzan Relief Package is a regular feature, customers have come to expect special discounted prices at USC outlets during Ramzan, which leads to sharp increase in footfall from approximately 150k to 500k customers a day. USC management also strives to ensure availability of goods across its network in order to ensure that maximum relief is extended to the deserving segment.

This year, Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan is working hard to make arrangements for the upcoming holy month of Ramzan. Proposed Ramzan Relief Package-2022 is based on actual sales from previous year’s Ramzan and current subsidy being offered on five essential items under the Prime Minister’s Relief Package-2020.

The ECC was informed that given the inflationary pressures in 2022 it is expected that more customers will be heading to USC outlets to get better prices than the open market, which will drive up USC sales.

Since USC is now equipped with POS systems across its network, there is transparency and traceability of each transaction, which will enhance efficiency and control and will minimize cases of black marketing.

In the month of January-2022, a draft summary containing the proposal to launch Ramzan Relief Package-2022 was shared with the Finance Division for its views/ comments. On that draft summary, the Finance Division has already supported Ramzan Relief Package-2022.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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