ISLAMABAD - The government has withdrawn subsidy on all the products at Utility Stores Corporation due to the prevailing financial crunch. Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo while making the announcement here in a press conference attributed the withdrawal of monthly Rs 1 billion subsidy to the ongoing financial meltdown. The decision would bring prices of daily use commodities at Utility Stores at par with the open market, Wattoo said while promising to re-subsidize the commodities once the government was able to afford the same. He said that sugar would still be provided at subsidized rates as at Rs 38 per kg against Rs 45 of open market adding that ghee and oil were still available at Utility Stores at cheaper prices than the open market. Wattoo further said that the government intended to run USC as a commercial organization besides computerizing the same within 30 days to help minimize chances of corruption and mismanagement at its outlets and consultation with the government was on to bear all of its expenses in this regard, he added. The Minister informed that the special audit of the Corporation initiated on his directives had unearthed an embezzlement of Rs 5.9 million, of which, he said, 3 million had been recovered and strict action would be taken against the culprits as the zonal and regional mangers were dismissed. He said, "We have provided employment opportunities to more than 3500 people in USC through proper channel and only giving relaxation to the people of Balochistan and FATA in the criteria of education and age." While talking about urea shortage in the country, he said, "The government is presently giving 100 per cent subsidy on the 50 kg urea fertilizer bag as its prices are around Rs 1350 but the consumers are buying it at Rs 650 and remaining amount is subsidized ." He said, "To fulfil the needs of wheat, the government has imported 5.75 lac tons urea as our domestic production is 48 lac tons against its consumption of 56 lac tons and in next few months we would further import three lac tons." The shortage of urea was due to the hoarding and black marketing of domestic production and no part of imported urea was misused due to the good policies of the Ministry, he said. The Federal Minister said, "We had already paid Rs 27 billion in the form of subsidy on DAP fertilizer as the government wants self-sufficiency in wheat because last year we spent around Rs 100 billion on its import which is too much," he added. "It is the provincial governments responsibility to keep an eye on the hoarding and black marketing and we are already holding meetings with the Sindh and Punjab Governments in this regard," Manzoor Wattoo said.