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Government Reiterates Resolve to Curb Inflation

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Adviser to the P.M. on Finance says ‘range’ of relief measures will help to reduce prices of basic commodities

Adviser to the P.M. on Finance Shaukat Tarin on Wednesday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government is implementing a range of relief measures to absorb the impact of global inflation of basic commodities; claims that were echoed by P.M. Imran Khan in a separate meeting.

Presiding over a National Price Monitoring Committee meeting in Islamabad, Tarin said the government was taking all possible measures to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities across Pakistan in addition to ensuring the supply of wheat flour at government-specified prices.

The committee was also briefed on the Punjab government’s decision to commence the crushing of sugarcane by Nov. 15 in a bid to reduce the prices of sugar, which have been on the rise for several weeks. Tarin directed the chief secretary of Sindh province to ensure the province started its own crushing as soon as possible to ensure a stable price for sugar across the country.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review the government’s progress on its proposed targeted subsidy program. Emphasizing that the government was taking steps to reduce the impact of international price hikes on the people, he said direct subsidies on different commodities would help the financially weaker segments of society.

The prime minister directed authorities to ensure the expedited implementation of the targeted subsidy system, adding that awareness campaigns should be launched so a maximum number of people could benefit from the scheme.

Defending the recent price hike plaguing Pakistan, Khan said essential commodities’ prices were on the rise globally.

Cabinet discussion

The issue of inflation also came up in a meeting of the federal cabinet on Wednesday, with Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain maintaining that the prices of essential items in Pakistan were the lowest in South Asia.

“Except vegetable ghee, prices of all essential items are lower in Pakistan as compared to the prices in the whole region,” he claimed in a post-cabinet press conference. “It is heartening to note that the prices in Pakistan are cheaper than regional countries, including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,” he said.

As a matter of routine, Fawad sought to blame the Sindh government for high prices of wheat flour, claiming the provincial government needed to implement measures to control inflation. “The prices of edible items in Sindh are higher than any other province,” he claimed.

The minister said the cabinet had decided to share weekly comparison of regional prices with the public.

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