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Here’s how you can get essential food items at subsidised rates

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Under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s relief package, essential food items will be provided at subsidised rates at the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets across the country from today (Sunday).

Keeping in mind the difficulties and problems faced by the people, PM Shehbaz announced the provision of targeted subsidies on basic food items through USC. These items include flour, sugar, ghee, rice and pulses.

Consumers enrolled in the Benazir Income support Programme (BISP) are eligible to get food items at subsidised rates from the USC outlets.

The corporation has asked its all customers to SMS their CNIC numbers from their mobile phones to 5566 and they will receive a one-time password after which they can avail subsidy and purchase items.

In June 2022, the premier decided in principle that the government would provide flour, ghee, cooking oil, pulses, rice and sugar at low prices during the fiscal year 2022-23.

Details of the package

For the registered consumers with BISP, the essential food items will be available at the following rates:

  • Flour — Rs400 per 10 kg bag
  • Ghee — Rs300 per kg 
  • Sugar — Rs70 per kg

Meanwhile, Rs15 to Rs20 will be saved on rice and pulses per kg, however, the monthly purchase limit for the consumers is also fixed.

According to the purchase limits, a consumer would be able to purchase 40kg of flour, 5kg of sugar and 5kg of ghee monthly, besides, all other consumers of Utility Stores Corporation will also be provided subsidies on these five food items under the relief package.

For the other consumers, the prices will be as follows:

  • Flour — Rs648 per 10kg bag
  • Ghee — Rs375 per kg 
  • Sugar — Rs 89 per kg

Whereas, a Rs15 to Rs20 per kg discount on the purchase of pulses and rice will also be provided to consumers other than those registered with BISP.

The monthly purchase limit for these consumers is also set according to which they can buy 20kg of flour, 3kg of sugar, and 3kg of ghee.

For the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the flour will be provided for Rs400 per 10 kg bag at all the sales points and mobile stores established on the instruction of the prime minister.

Business

Over 600 points are added by PSX in intraday trading.

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Tuesday’s lunchtime trading on the Pakistan Stock Exchange saw favorable activity.

During intraday trading, the benchmark KSE-100 Index increased by 672.08 points, or 1.11%, and was trading at 61131.82 levels.

The KSE-30 Index was trading at 20,558.31 after adding 211.46 points, or 1.04%.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) had another round of discussions for the establishment of a central government the day before the rally in the local stock exchange.

In the meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has issued a warning, stating that the likelihood of default would rise in the event of a drawn-out discussion or the inability to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, which reported net foreign reserves of $8 billion as of February 9, 2024, up from a low of $2.9 billion on February 3, 2023, Pakistan’s external situation has improved recently.

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The smartphone app “Tajir Dost” to tax Pakistani businesses is anticipated to launch on February 22.

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The sources stated that the caretaker administration aims to include 3.5 million shops in the tax net by use of the “Tajir Dost” app.

They said that Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, has instructed the relevant authorities to conclude their engagement with the retailing bodies within a few days.

The introduction of the “Tajir Dost” smartphone app to impose taxes on several merchants was authorized earlier this month by the acting federal administration.

The smartphone application, created by Pakistan Revenue Authority Limited (PRAL), a division of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), is intended to serve as a registration tool for shops and dealers throughout the nation.

The app’s database will be updated with the traders’ information who have already registered with the FBR.

Previously, in December 2023, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) made history by collecting Rs1.021 trillion. After deducting refunds of Rs 38 billion that were given out that month, the FBR’s net collection increased to Rs 984 billion.

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SBP confirms the choice to use new currency notes was not influenced by the IMF.

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In response to recent rumours, Saleem Ullah, the deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), said on Thursday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had no influence over the decision to release new currency notes.

Saleem Ullah underlined in an interview that printing new notes is a regular procedure carried out every 15 to 20 years to maintain the currency’s integrity.

He stressed that, in contrast to rumours, the deficit is expected to decline in the next fiscal year, in line with the goals of the new monetary policy.

“Every 15 to 20 years, new notes are printed,” he clarified. The new currency’s goal is to keep the note’s integrity intact.”

The SBP assured the public earlier this week that the current banknote series will continue to be in circulation despite the introduction of new currency notes, which it intended to implement over the course of the next two years.

Regarding the latest series of currency notes, the deputy governor clarified that they were launched in 2005 and were in circulation for three years.

He admitted that the procedure was time-consuming and estimated that because of the careful preparation required, it would take around two years to issue the first note.

In addition, he guaranteed that the new banknotes will have improved security measures because they would be made using contemporary technology. He gave information regarding the SBP’s effort to get public feedback on the new currency notes’ design, highlighting the fact that recommendations were being actively sought from the populace.

“There are three prizes for each denomination, and there are a total of seven denominations, hence 21 prizes,” he disclosed, highlighting the process’ openness. First place is worth Rs 1 million, second place is worth Rs 500,000, and third place is worth Rs 300,000.

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