Govt to ensure edible items’ availability at controlled rates: Hafeez

Observer Report

Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that controlling inflation and provision of essential edible items to masses at affordable prices are the top most priorities of the government.

Talking to a private news channel, the finance minister said the government is working on a comprehensive policy to ensure availability of edible items at controlled prices and subsidy will be provided during the upcoming holy month of Ramazan.

The finance minister said that exports of the country are now increasing and the value of Pakistani rupee has also strengthened due to prudent policies of the government.

He said that the national industry has started running while the construction industry is also booming now.

He said that the government has been focusing on improving the real sector growth through promotion of agriculture, industrial and services sectors of the economy.

“The government is focused on bringing improvement in the real sector growth through inclusive growth in agriculture, industrial and services sectors,” he added.

He said that realising the importance of sub-sectors of the economy, the government has initiated different programmes including National Agriculture Emergency programme (NAEP) under which thirteen mega projects worth Rs277 billion are under execution currently.

He said that the objective of NAEP is to bring about improvements in water availability, soil conservation and shrimp fanning and establishing new agriculture markets.
The minister said that Rs10.964 billion mega project National Oilseed Enhancement programme (NOEP) under NAEP was launched to boost the adoption of oilseed crops at a cost of Rs10.964 billion for 5 years.

Likewise, the government allocated Rs10 billion for locust control in the current budget while an amount of Rs12 billion was allocated under Public Sector Development Programme 2020-21 for ensuring food security and promoting agriculture sector.

He said that the government enhanced agriculture credit disbursement by 3.5 percent during the fiscal year 2020 to Rs1214.7 billion as compared to the corresponding period of the last year while during the first three months of financial year 2020-21, agriculture credit disbursement stood at Rs250 billion.

To support industrial sector, the government has taken many initiatives including reduction of Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cement from Rs2 per kilogramme to Rs1.5 per kilogramme, relaxation of excise duties on textile items, Rs33 billion markup subsidy for construction sector, Export Finance Scheme (EFS) maintained at 3 percent while Long Term Finance Facility (KTFF) was reduced from 6 percent to 5 percent. Likewise, the State Bank of Pakistan had announced additional support of Rs190 billion for exporters and investors, he said.