Leakages from utility stores
Federal government had announced a subsidy of Rs.15 billion to provide sugar, rice, wheat flour and pulses and some other food commodities to deserving people at reasonable prices at utility stores. But people are not benefiting from it. The price of sugar was fixed at Rs.68 per kilogram. But bulk of the supply of this commodity made to utility stores finds its way to the retail market where it is sold out at Rs.80 per kilogram to consumers. The deserving people, who visit these stores in the pursuit of buying eatables at relatively lower prices as compared with market prates, return disappointed.
The quality of wheat flour sold at utility stores is inferior with the one available for sale at the retail market. Same is the case with rice, pulses and beans. The prices of tea leaves and processed milk of different brands is higher than the similar brands that people purchase from shop and shopping malls. Moreover, big price differential does exist in prices of few other consumers’ goods such as tomato catch-up jams, marmalades and spices. There is no strict monitoring system to ensure smooth supply of commodities which are meant for sale on subsidized rates and physical checking of sales and stocks to stop leakages of food items the prices of which have soared abnormally in the open market. Hopefully, these issues shall be addressed.