Business

Govt lifts ban on import of sugar

Aftab Ahmed

Islamabad:The cabinet on Tuesday accorded approval to lift ban on import of sugar to enhance supply in local market to reduce the prices that have jumped up manifold.

Earlier, government had allowed import of wheat to counter cartel of wheat flour millers that had hiked prices to pocket billions from the masses.

Now, the government has lifted a ban on import of sugar to enhance supply in local market to reduce prices of sweetener. Sugar and wheat barons made billions by export of commodity and now, private sector would make hefty amount on import of these two products.

The Cabinet gave approval to lift ban on import of sugar to ensure supply of this commodity.The export of sugar has been banned and a strategy is being devised to remove regulatory duty on this commodity.
Amid higher rates of inflation, Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs 10 billion subsidy to stabilize prices of edible items of daily use.

The government will give a subsidy of Rs 2 billion per month for a period of five months to Utility Stores Corporation for provision of edible items of daily use to the people at affordable rates.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of federal cabinet.

In a briefing to media, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the subsidy would be available on flour, sugar, rice and pulses among other edible items at USC outlets. The USC has been further directed that 20 kg flour bag be sold at Rs 800 and pulses at 15-20 percent less than market prices.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan the cabinet has shown unsatisfactory over inquiry report of the committee regarding crises of wheat and sugar and further directed to submit the report with more information and recommendations within three weeks.

She said 4.3 million women are being given two thousand rupees monthly under Ehsaas program. The number will reach by seventy million by end of this year, benefitting 46.9 people will benefit.

The Special Assistant said the Prime Minister has directed his team to devise a mechanism to reduce the prices of gas and electricity in phase wise manner to reduce the burden of inflation on people. She said that, Under Ehsaas Fee Support Program, the government will provide 750 rupees for male students and 1000 rupees per female students.

She said under Ehsas Nutrition program, which will be launched next month, 20 thousand women will get its benefit and it will be further expanded in future. She said Ehsaas Langar Khana program, 100 more langar khana will be established this year across the country with public private partnership.
The SAPM said that the Health Advisor briefed the meeting about government initiatives in preventing Coronavirus.

She said that the cabinet also directed to prepare a comprehensive strategy to control the prices of electricity and gas along with the causes of rising prices. She said the report will also be shared with media and general public.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said the cabinet accorded approval to Hajj Policy 2020. He said this year the hajj quota of intending pilgrims from Pakistan is 1,79,200 and efforts are being made to increase this number.

He said sixty percent pilgrims will offer hajj through government scheme while forty percent through private tour operators. He said transparency and merit will be ensured while selecting private tour operators as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said the hajj package through government scheme is 4,90,000 rupees for intending pilgrims of north region and 4,80,000 rupees for those from southern region of the country.

He said the increase in hajj package is due to surge in airline fares and depreciation of Pakistani rupee among other reasons. He said the Saudi government has levied an additional fee of 300 riyals for hajj visa and 110 riyals for mandatory health insurance. Similarly, the cost of residence has also gone up in Makkah.

The Minister said last year the government reimbursed an amount of 5.50 billion rupees to the pilgrims and this year efforts are being made to minimize the burden on intending pilgrims.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said 22,000 Pakistanis benefitted from Road to Makkah project in Islamabad last year and this year talks are underway to extend it to Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.

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