A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of Cabinet (ECC) Tuesday approved a subsidy of Rs2 billion to Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for providing 20 essential commodities at cheaper rates to consumers during Ramazan. The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar considered and approved a summary submitted by Ministry of Industries and Production for approval of Rs2 billion Ramazan Relief Package - higher by 15 percent over previous year's Rs1.733 billion. Approved essential commodities would be available at USC at 5% to 10 percent lower rate than market price during Ramazan. According to an official, Rs100 million out of the approved amount would be utilized for advertisement to inform the masses.
Ministry of Industries & Production proposal that a Ramazan Relief Package may include 19 essential commodities which are: ghee, sugar, atta, oil, daal, chana, daal moong washed, daal mash washed, daal masoor, white gram, baisen (chakki), dates (khajoor), rice basmati, rice sella, broken rice, squashed & syrups (1,500 ml bottle), squashed & syrups, (800 ml bottle), black tea, spices and milk (UHT).
The main objective of subsidy is to ensure the availability of essential commodities in the holy month of Ramazan at reasonable prices for the low-income families. The Ministry of Industries & Production has proposed that the Ramazan Relief package may be made effective from May 1, 2019 as the holy month of Ramazan is going to start from the second week of May 2019. The Cabinet in its sitting this Thursday is expected to endorse the ECC decision on Ramazan Package.
The Ministry of Industries & Production is devising special monitoring plan to ensure smooth supply of the subsidized items at all utility stores across the country. The subsidy on some of the items would be included Rs 20 on per kg Daal chana, Rs 10 on per kg on daal mash washed, Rs 15 on per kg ghee, Rs 4 on per kg Atta, Rs 5 on per sugar, Rs 25 on per kg white gram, Rs 15 on per kg broken rice, Rs 15 on per kg milk (UHT), Rs 30 per kg on dates and Rs 20 on per kg baisen.
The ECC also approved supplementary grant of Rs16.976 million for Textile Division. The meeting approved another Supplementary Grant of Rs7415.486 million for Finance Division for Financial Inclusion & Infrastructure Projects (FIIP) as well as Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs562.00 million and Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs742.531 million for SAP Software License Payment.
The ECC also approved Supplementary Grant of Rs1 billion for Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to boost its revenue collection capacity.
In order to pay the outstanding dues to the legal heirs of deceased employees of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) on account of provident fund, gratuity and payroll, the committee approved grant for the purpose which will help in addressing the problems of the legal heirs of deceased employees.
Secretary Water Resources and Chairman Wapda gave separate presentations on different water projects including major dams namely Mohmand Dam, Diamir-Bhasha and Dhasu dam.
Secretary Commerce made a presentation on export prospects in the short term. The Committee directed to prepare an export enhancement plan for next year before March 31, 2019.