Govt to inject Rs280b in market via record wheat procurement: Asad

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STAFF REPORTER
ISLAMABAD Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that the government will procure record wheat worth 280 billion rupees. Talking to a news channel here on Wednesday, Asad Umar said that the government was going to have the biggest wheat procurement this year which would inject Rs 280 billion in the market. “The people would get Rs 280 billion this year which would also help easing liquidity problems in the market,” he added. Hailing the economic package announced by the Prime Minister in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister Planning, Development and Special Initiatives said that the package would help those daily wagers who were not able to earn their livelihood during lockdown period in the country. He said the package would also help exporters whose liquidity had badly hurt due to economic slowdown around the globe. However, Asad Umar said the government tried its best to restoretheir liquidity by providing a generous package worth of Rs 100 billion for them. He further stated that the government would announce a separate package for construction industry within a week or two. The Minister Planning and Development said that construction industry will engage over 30 industries and the business activity in all these sectors would accelerate besides creating jobs for a large number of labourers. Replying to a question regarding the State Bank of Pakistan’s announcement of revising down interest rate by 1.5 percent or 1500 basis points, he welcomed the decision and said that this will give benefit especially to the business community. Asad Umar said that earlier in its routine meeting, the Monitory Policy Committee had reduced interest rate by 75 basis points and now it reduced by 1500 points making the total to 225 points. He said after outbreak of Coronavirus, Egypt was the only country which reduced its interest rate by 300 points while Pakistan was the second country which reduced the rate by such a large margin. However, the minister said that he personally believed that there was some more room to reduce the interest rate. “If I was a member of the monitory committee, I would have suggested more basis points to be cut down.” “But the good thing is that the SBP did not wait for two months and by seeing the situation, it called an emergency meeting to revise down the interest rate,” he added. With regard to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Asad Umar informed that the ministry of finance had also waived the limit on PSDP to be imposed in last quarter of fiscal year 2019-20 to control development expenditures. But now after waiver of this limit, it is likely that full amount allocated under PSDP would be spent on the projects.