ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has said that provision of daily necessities, specially food items to the people at affordable prices is one of the top most priorities of the government.

He said this during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and President Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain who called on him at Prime Minister’s House here on Friday.

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi informed the Prime Minister that the Ministry of Industries is working on a plan on fast track basis for increasing the number of utility stores and extending the network to Union Council level which would prove to be yet another social security network for the people.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf directed the Ministry of Industries to open 1000 new outlets of utility stores in far-flung and remote areas of the country.

The Utility Stores Corporation, he said, has successfully demonstrated that it can provide relief to the low-income groups by providing basic necessities on demand at affordable prices.

The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of Deputy Prime Minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in ensuring provision of ample supplies of daily necessities in utility stores during the holy month of Ramazan. He expressed satisfaction that the subsidy of Rs 4 billion provided to utility stores has been used judiciously to provide relief to the people.

He further said that directions have also been issued to Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for evolving a system for provision of 10 per cent discount at utility stores to the Benazir Debit Card holders.

The Prime Minister urged the media to play its role in identifying elements who hoard essential items and thus fuel prices artificially.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain appreciated the efforts of the government in maintaining law and order and peace and harmony in the country during the Eid-ul-Fitr enabling people to celebrate it with traditional fervour.