Taking cognizance of unprecedented high price spiral in the country, Prime Minister’s relief of Rs.7 billion is being implemented by providing subsidized consumers’ goods of daily consumption on Utility Stores. Previously such relief packages used to be available during the month of Ramadan. Deserving people will get subsidy of Rs.7 to 40 on the food commodities including sugar, pulses, ghee and other items of daily use. People can get these goods once in a month on the production of CNIC. This time medicines have also been included in the list of subsidized commodities and their prices have been lowered by 15 percent.
The relief package for giving subsidy on a wide range of eatables is worth appreciation provided smooth supply of the subsidized goods is ensured on working days of every week. And like the past people may not complain against the short supply and inferior quality of food items. Hopefully, these aspects can be taken care off. As far the lowering the prices of medicines, the bitter fact is that Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has failed to implement the earlier decision of reduction in prices through provincial health department. All national pharmaceutical companies and few multinational companies could not be taken to task for overpricing.
While explaining the salient features of the relief package Advisor on Information Firduos Asiq Awan rebutted the impression that PTI government alone is responsible for the current wave of high prices. The contention is partially right. It is true that previous PML-N government has destroyed the production base of the economy by making the country largely depended on imports of consumers’’ goods. But the fiscal measures of hiking electricity and gas prices and greater reliance on regressive taxes in the present government has reflected in an unending wave of unaffordable price tide of food commodities.