‘50,000 retail shops to be opened for subsidised items’

ISLAMABAD: The government has made a plan to provide jobs and daily-use items to people on subsidised rates under which 50,000 new retail shops will be opened.

Geo News reported while quoting sources that Rs25 billion have been allocated for the programme in the first phase. The citizens will get loans up to Rs500,000 for opening retail shops and 1,500 such shops will be opened immediately.

The sources said the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) will supply 60 percent items to retails shops, while the shops owners will arrange rest of items from open market. This plan of the government will provide jobs to 50,000 families.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has also directed to continue the Rs7 billion relief package to Utility Stores till the end of Ramazan. The prime minister was informed that the Utility Stores need up to Rs10 billion funds after which he directed the concerned ministries to make arrangements for providing resources.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said his government will announce various measures to reduce the prices of basic food items for the common man in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting.

The prime minister also explained that the concerned government departments had also begun doing an in-depth probe into the flour and sugar price hike.

In tweets, he acknowledged the difficulties the ordinary people, including the salaried class, were confronting and had decided to announce a number of measures for giving relief to them come what may.

“I understand the difficulties ordinary people incl salaried class are confronting & have decided, come what may, my govt will be announcing various measures that will be taken to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man in cabinet on Tuesday,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

The prime minister also wrote, “At the same time all the relevant govt agencies have begun doing an in-depth probe into the flour & sugar price hikes. The nation should rest assured that all those responsible will be held accountable & penalised.”

While chairing a meeting of his economic team a day earlier, the prime minister asserted that a government having no compassion had no right to stay. He hinted at going to any extent to provide relief to the masses in terms of prices of essential commodities, including flour, rice, pulses, ghee and sugar.

The prime minister has been regularly holding meetings of his economic team and taking decisions, however, tangible results are yet to be seen. He also has recently directed the provinces to take every possible step to check profiteering and hoarding of goods.

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was taking all possible measures to provide relief to poor people facing price hike issues now a days.

Talking to local media, the minister said the government was well aware of the genuine problems of masses and there was no doubt that inflation has increased enormously. He added that there was a dire need to bring down the wheat and other commodities prices in the country. He said the matter to bring the prices down was under consideration and masses would be given relief without further delay. He claimed that the back of inflation will be broken this month. He said people involved in artificial price hike will face strict action.

To a question about shortage of wheat in different parts of the country, he said the federal government had dispatched flour to Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as per their requirement. About development works, Asad Umar said the government would utilise all the funds allocated in the budget for development of neglected parts of the country.

The minister said water reservoirs including Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu would be constructed for generating cheap energy besides meeting the requirement of the agriculture sector. Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Prime Minister Imran Khan is honouring all his promises and political commitments made during his election campaign.

Addressing a press conference here, she said Imran Khan’s struggle against the corrupt system and corrupt elements had entered into the final phase now and his dream of a corruption-free Pakistan would come true soon. Dr Firdous said a status quo was being maintained in the country for the last 72 years.

The special assistant said the corrupt politicians used the law for their personal gains in past, she said, adding no one was above the law in ”New Pakistan”. She said those who had made assets through unfair means would have to face accountability. Dr Firdous said there were many challenges being faced by the PTI government to bring about reforms in the system. She said the accountability of corrupt politicians was continuing now and no undue relief was being given to the corrupt elements.

Dr Firdous said the government was committed to recovering every single penny plundered by the corrupt politicians. The special assistant said the government was aware of the hoarders, who attempted to create flour and sugar crisis in the country, adding that these elements will never escape punishment.

She said the nexus of the corrupt would be broken soon, adding that the corrupt used their ill-gotten money for creating shortage of flour and sugar in the country.

Dr Firdous said people believed in honesty and sincerity of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was the only true, honest and sincere leader of Pakistan. She said Pakistan was successfully moving ahead towards the goal of national economic and political stability.

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