ISLAMABAD-The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday has approved the allocation of additional 200,000 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat for Utility Stores Corporation from PASSCO.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC. The ECC approved the allocation of additional 200,000MT of wheat for Utility Stores Corporation from PASSCO, the approved quantity will be released in tranches. The first tranche will be of 50,000MT, which would be released immediately; the rest will be released on demand by USC. The total cost of this package is Rs8.690 billion including incidental charges of 1.690 billion. The chair also directed that the record of the USC and PASSCO may be completely computerised so that it may ensure transparency and facilitate decision making. There was also a discussion in ECC on data collection from private flour mills in order to ascertain the correct situation of demand and supply of wheat/atta in the country and to ensure accuracy in decision making.

The Chair also asked the Poverty Alleviation Division to ensure transparency and efficiency in disbursement of funds to the vulnerable in wake of COVID-19 situation in the country. Secretary Poverty Alleviation Social Safety Division assured the ECC that no one would be allowed to swindle the poor people of this country, he further informed that the multiple arrests have already been made and exemplary punishment will be given to those who will cheat the poor. The Division also briefed the ECC that so far 1.7 million families have been paid under the Ehsaas program and payments to remaining families are underway.

In last week, the ECC had approved a Ramazan relief package worth Rs2.5 billion. The government has made arrangements to ensure that prices of five essential commodities remained unchanged until the end of the holy month. This would mean the sale of sugar at Rs68 per kilogram, wheat flour at Rs800 per 20kg, ghee at Rs170 per kg, gram pulses at Rs130 and two varieties of rice at Rs139 and Rs149 per kg. The aforesaid Rs2.5 billion is part of the Rs50bn technical supplementary grant for the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) announced under the PM’s relief package.