Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Govt allowed to increase price of essential items

The government on Friday ordered the import of 200,000 tonnes of sugar to build strategic assets and raised the prices of wheat flour, ghee and sugar by up to 53 percent for sale through the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

The decisions were taken at an Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting of the federal cabinet, which was chaired by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and was attended by only two other members of the 14-member ECC.

The ECC also allowed the importation of 200,000 bales of cotton to meet the needs of the textile industry and made around Rs 116 billion non-cash adjustments to several public sector energy producers to contain the circular debt.

The ECC increased the price of ghee at USC points of sale by almost 53 percent, from Rs170 to Rs260 per kg, on the advice of the Ministry of Industry and Production (MOIP), and the price of wheat flour by nearly 19 percent, to Rs950 per bag of 20kg, from your current charge of Rs800.

Similarly, the price of sugar increased from the existing rate of Rs68 to Rs85 per kg, indicating an increase of 25%.

An official statement said prices were revised due to a growing gap between subsidized prices offered by the USC and prevailing market prices. The committee “approved a revision in the prices of three essential commodities to rationalize the USC’s subsidy provision,” he argued.

The committee also approved another MOIP proposal to import 200,000 tons of sugar to build strategic reserves and minimize the role of speculative in the domestic market. In case of need, more reserves would be formed through importation, decided the ECC.

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