Federal cabinet approves Rs1650 per 40kg wheat support price for Rabi crop.
The cabinet made this decision during its meeting on Tuesday in Islamabad where Prime Minister Imran Khan presided.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz briefed the media on the decisions.
Federal cabinet approves Rs1650 per 40kg wheat support price
He said the cabinet thoroughly discussed the issue of wheat support price and input of cabinet members mostly the public representatives
He said that they debated the issue for quite some time. Finally the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) took up the issue its previous meeting.
Shibli said that both consumers and the farmers would be happy with this price because it aims to protect the masses from high prices of flour beside giving farmers good prices for their produce.
The minister noted Punjab as the major producer of wheat whereas Sindh has 13 to 16 per cent share in wheat produce.
He said that the Sindh government remains responsible for the crisis as it failed to release any wheat for the consumers.
He said its shortage in Sindh not only resulted in high prices in the province but also caused transfer of the commodity from Punjab to Sindh. That, he said badly affected the supply chain and also raised its price in Punjab and KPK.
PM desires no increase in prices of all edibles
Furthermore, the minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had the desire that prices of all edibles should not increase so that the commodity remains available for the low income segments at affordable rates.
He said presently international prices of the wheat are on the higher side but the support price announced by the Sindh was even higher than the international price.
The minister said that unfortunately during the past four to five decades the county was running on ad hoc basis.
He lamented no long term policies made for the country in the past. Moreover, he blamed faulty system of subsidies during the past government’s tenure that benefitted billionaires also, alongside the poor.
Shibli Faraz said that the government would take help from Ehsaas Programme data for giving targeted subsidies.
He said that the government assigned Special Assistant on Finance the task to prepare a plan for rationalizing the subsidies worth Rs4 trillion and ensuring that only the poor and middle income segments should benefit from them.
He said that while discussing the COVID-19 situation, the cabinet after detailed discussion, reiterated that there would be no restrictions on those sectors which are linked with job opportunities and creation of wealth.
Strict restrictions on other sectors to save lives of people
The minister said that the cabinet said that strict restrictions would be imposed on other sectors to save the lives of the people.
He said that in the first phase the impact of coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan was far less than other countries, but now its cases were increasing and there was a need to strictly adopt precautionary measures.
While replying to the questions of media persons, Senator Shibli Faraz appreciated the self-discipline and accountability mechanism of the armed forces in relation to the Karachi incident.
He said that military side has done its job and now the Sindh government should set an example with regards to how the police offices resorted to a sort of mutiny and fix the responsibility how it all happened.
It should also check why the FIR was not registered initially by the concerned SHO, which led to a resentment and reaction from public and pressure came on the Rangers and they approached high official of police to sort out this issue.
The minister was of the opinion that the Sindh government should ensure that discipline is maintained by all and the IG also conduct an inquiry regarding his officers.
Resolution in the Punjab Assembly
To a question about a resolution in the Punjab Assembly on fixing wheat support price at Rs.2000 per 40 kg, the minister said that the provinces could express their desire but it was the job of the federal government to determine the support price keeping in mind interests of both people and wheat growers.
The minister expressed the hope that the new support price and Rs. 100 subsidy to the farmers would be beneficial to both the masses as well as the farmers.
To a question about non-compliance of SOPs with regards to the Covid-19, he appealed to the people to be extremely careful and adhere to the discipline, observed during the first wave of the virus, as the pandemic was dangerous.
Shibli Faraz said an awareness campaign was also being launched to sensitise people about following SOPs and wearing mask, as if people did not care about this, then again hospitals might face pressure beyond capacity to deal with corona cases.
The minister noted that the cabinet also discussed rationalization of subsidies, which amounted to nearly Rs.4 trillion but both the rich and the poor were benefitting from it.
However, for the first time the government would give targeted subsidy only to the poor and middle class.
Furthermore, government would allow this only to those industries, which exported their products.