Islamabad, November 17, 2020 (PPI-OT): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz has dispelled the impression of any shortage of wheat as sufficient stock of the commodity is available in the country. Talking to media along with Prime Minister’s Finance Advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said existing stock of wheat is 4.2 million tons, while another amount of 1.9 million tons is reaching Pakistan soon. He said all the agreements to import wheat through Trading Corporation of Pakistan and Government to Government will be materialized by February next year.
He said sugar is also available on subsidized rates at Utility Stores and Sahulat bazars. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said 40,000 tons of wheat is being released daily to keep the flour price under control. He said prices of flour have shown a declining trend in last three weeks while rates of edible items are also coming down. Giving overall picture of the economy, the Advisor said tax collection witnessed a surge of 17 percent, primary balance turned positive, foreign direct investment increased and current account deficit became surplus for the first time in last several years. He said the government has not taken any loan in last four months which shows its untiring efforts to maintain financial discipline.
He said large scale manufacturing recorded a growth of five percent along with massive sale of cement, automobiles and fertilizers. He said State Bank’s reserves have gone to 13 billion rupees. On the fiscal side, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Federal Board of Revenue collected taxes more that the targeted amount while refunds worth 128 billion rupees were paid back to the business community which is one hundred percent higher than the previous year. The Advisor said government increased budget of the Ehsaas Programme from 100 billion rupees to 192 billion rupees in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said earlier 4.5 million poor people were catered for under this programme but now the government is aiming at enhancing this number to seven million people. He said under this programme, cash assistance will be provided to the deserving people. He added that over 100 billion rupees were allocated for the development of the merged districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said subsidies are also being provided to 72 percent of electricity consumers, 92 percent gas users, and 100 percent agri tube wells.
For more information, contact:
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Government of Pakistan
4th Floor, Cabinet Block, Pak. Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan