- Rs28bn monthly package announced to provide relief to 14m families
- Utility Stores asked to set the price of 10kg sack of wheat flour at Rs400
- PTI govt censured for not raising POL products’ prices
- ‘Diplomatic rebuilding process has begun’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a relief package of Rs28 billion for 1.4 million families and stated that the prices of petroleum products were increased with heavy heart for the interest of the economy and country.
In his first address to the nation, the prime minister held previous government responsible of the economic woes and stated that increase in petroleum prices was critical to save the country from economic default and vowed to bring about betterment in the economic situation of the country.
The premier said that Rs 2000 per family would get additional to the BISP and it would continue even in the next fiscal year. He further stated that the government also directed Utility Stores Corporation to set the price of 10kg sack of flour at Rs400.
He added that previous government added Rs 20 trillion debt during the last four and a half year. The premier said that by giving fuel subsidy, previous government had laid a trap for the present government.
Prime minister said that he would also start discussion with political parties for charter of the economy.
He said the charter of the economy is important so that no government could use the economy for the sake of politics. The premier said he took charge of the government at a time when the country was facing a myriad of crises, but he accepted this challenge for the sake of the country.
Under the relief package, the premier said, 14 million poor families, comprising 85 million people, would be given Rs2000 per family.
He said this was in addition to the monetary assistance being given to them under the Benazir Income Support Programme. “This relief package will be added in the next budget,” he said.
“The previous government is deliberately concealing facts. I want to remind them that you entered into a deal with IMF, not us. You accepted their harsh terms, not us. You pushed the country into an economic mess, not us.”
He termed the previous government’s decision to grant fuel subsidy a “trap” for the upcoming government. PM recalled that he had proposed a “charter of economy” nearly four years ago but “my proposal was rejected with disdain”.
He said the charter was imperative so that no government could use the economy for the sake of politics, adding that he would reach out to all political parties for dialogue on the matter. He said the previous government’s tenure also proved costly for Pakistan on the diplomatic front.
“A most trusted friendly country — the one that supported us in all difficult circumstances — was made upset. But we have started the rebuilding process,” the premier said in an apparent reference to the United States.
He also recalled that the incumbent government reversed all measures taken by the ex-government that curbed the freedom of speech, including scrapping a proposal for the controversial Pakistan Media Development Authority.
The premier said he took charge of the government at a time when the country was facing a myriad of crises. “We knew the remedial measures will take much effort and time to yield results, but we still took up the reins for the sake of the country.”
Without naming former PM Imran Khan, he said lies were spoken to the nation about a “foreign conspiracy” to further “political goals”. He went on to say that “this man hurt diplomatic relations of Pakistan for his personal interests.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022