Federal cabinet approves wheat support price of Rs. 1,650/40kg to ensure commodity’s affordability
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed officials concerned to devise a mechanism that would ensure targeted subsidies benefit the impoverished, stressing that subsidies should only benefit the poor and not the rich.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the prime minister had directed the rationalization of subsidies, as well as the evolution of a comprehensive strategy that would provide maximum benefit to deserving families.
“The cabinet discussed rationalization of subsidies, which amounted to nearly Rs. 4 trillion, but both the rich and the poor were benefitting from it while it would be for the first time that the government would give targeted subsidy, only to the poor and middle class and this would be given to only those industries that exported their products,” he added.
The minister said the cabinet had also approved wheat support price at Rs. 1,650/40kg to ensure the common man could buy flour at affordable rates, while also ensuring that farmers are not paid an insufficient value for their wares. An earlier meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee had said that government would have to sustain Rs. 90 billion to Rs. 105 billion as subsidy cost on wheat if it fixed Rs. 1,650 as minimum support price of the commodity.
To a question about Sindh and Punjab fixing the wheat support price at Rs. 2,000/40kg, Faraz said it was a sole prerogative of the federal government to determine the support price keeping in mind interests of both the people and wheat growers. He noted that if the price were set at Rs. 2,000 it would aid farmers, but would also result in a massive increase in wheat prices.
Odds and ends
The cabinet also approved a measure to grant registrant body status to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan under the Geographical Indications Act 2020 to aid it’s registration of the country’s products as “Pakistani brands” at the international level.
According to Faraz, it approved—on the request of the Saudi government—the establishment of a Digital Cooperation Organization that would help promote mutual cooperation among them in the field of information technology.
The information minister said the prime minister also directed the National Command and Operation Center to formulate a strategy to combat the evolving situation of the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that any decision should ensure employment and the economy was not hampered.