The federal cabinet has been told that there is no shortage of wheat and sugar in the country and that there will be no further increase in the prices of these essential commodities.
At its weekly meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, the cabinet also approved the PM’s aid package for Rabi crops, especially wheat, which is one of the most popular staple foods in the country.
“There is no shortage of wheat as 1.9 million tonnes of the commodity have been imported. This stock is on its way while there are reserves of one million tonnes,” said the Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz while addressing a news conference after the meeting.
“More imported wheat will reach the country by February next year and then with harvesting of the new crop, the commodity will be in surplus,” he added.
Shibli said the wheat prices have declined while imported sugar is available in the market at Rs83 per kg and at the Utility Stores at Rs68 per kg. “The government is trying its best to keep the sugar and wheat prices low,” he added.
According to sources, at the outset of the meeting PM Imran congratulated his ministers on the ruling PTI’s victory in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) election, held on Sunday. The cabinet members also thumped their desks to express their jubilation.
The cabinet lauded the premier as well as key ministers’ efforts – Ali Amin Gandapur, Murad Saeed and Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari – for running an effective election campaign in the region that has been given the status of a provisional province.
The ministers claimed that people of the region had rejected the narrative of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – a coalition of 11 opposition parties – that started an anti- campaign on September 20 to oust the PTI led federal government.
“The PTI will form the government in the region and fulfill all the promises made to the people of the G-B,” the sources quoted the premier as saying.
The PM and his cabinet members also expressed satisfaction over peaceful dispersal of the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) protest in Islamabad after successful negotiation with the government.
In this regard, the premier appreciated the role of Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri who was heading the governmental negotiation team. The TPL was protesting against publication of blasphemous cartoons in France and demanded cessation of diplomatic relationships with Paris.
The cabinet also discussed the second wave of the contagious coronavirus pandemic and agreed that strict implementation on the SOPs could slow down the spread of the disease and reduce the burden on the hospitals. It also approved tax and duty exemptions for 61 items used in the treatment of Covid-19.
PM Imran informed the cabinet members that a clear procedure has been devised to resolve the problems being faced by the members of the National Assembly in their respective constituencies.
“Action will be taken against the officials of district administration and departments who are not resolving the issues in time,” he said.
The cabinet approved the appointment of Reena Saeed Khan as chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board. It also approved the appointment of chairperson and members of the National Commission for Human Development.
The cabinet gave the nod to delegating legal powers to the district and sessions judges stationed in 19 districts. These powers were given under Section 8 (2) of the Prevention of Smuggling Ordinance 2020.
In May, PM Imran had vowed to take stricter measures against elements involved in smuggling of currency and essential commodities as well as hoarding and profiteering.
The procedure for appointment of chief executives in key government agencies and companies was also approved in principle and the PM directed concerned authorities that the appointment process should be completely transparent and based on merit.
The cabinet ratified the decisions taken at the meetings of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) held on October 28 and November 4. Also, it ratified the decisions taken at the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation held on October 21 and November 5.
It postponed the ratification of the decisions taken in the meeting of the Committee on Institutional Reforms on October 29 and directed the concerned ministry to resubmit the decisions at the next cabinet meeting.
The cabinet also approved the appointment of the chairman of the National Medical and Dental Academic Board under the Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020. It also gave approval for the establishment of the National Medical Authority under Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020.
It also directed concerned authorities to set up a committee headed by the foreign minister to further facilitate visa policy for the promotion of tourism in Pakistan. The committee will prepare recommendations and submit a report to the cabinet.