ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved wheat support price at the rate of 1,650 rupees per 40 kilogrammes for coming Rabi crop.
Briefing the media persons about the decisions of the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said that the cabinet thoroughly discussed the issue of wheat support price and input of cabinet members most of whom were public representatives was taken. He said that issue was being debated for quite some time and it was also taken up in the Economic Coordination Committee (ECCC) in its previous meeting. He said that both consumers and the farmers would be happy with this price as its objective was to protect the masses from high prices of flour but at the same time give farmers good prices for their produce. The minister said that Punjab was the major producer of wheat whereas Sindh has 13 to 16 per cent share in wheat produce. He said that the Sindh government was 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 which affected the supply chain and also raised its price in Punjab and KPK. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had the desire that prices of all edibles should not increase so that the commodity is 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 run on ad hoc basis and no long term policies were made for the country. He said that the system of subsidies given by the government was faulty as both billionaires and the poor benefit from them equally. Shibli Faraz said that the government would take help from Ehsaas Programme data for giving targeted subsidies. He said that the Special Assistant on Finance has been given the task to prepare a plan for rationalizing the subsidies worth Rs 4 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. He 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.