Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday decided to continue a targeted subsidy on five essential items, namely, wheat flour, sugar, ghee/edible oil, pulses and rice, at Utility Stores for the next financial year to “provide relief to the masses.”

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting regarding Utility Stores in the country, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair. Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail, Minister for Industries and Production Murtaza Mahmood, and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

The participants of the meeting were briefed in detail about the provision of targeted subsidies to the lesser privileged segments of society.

The participants were also briefed about increasing the network of Utility Stores across the country and progress on providing cheaper wheat flour in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the vision of PM Shehbaz Sharif.

During the meeting, the prime minister approved the expansion of the network of Utility Stores and expressed concerns over the shortage of Utility Stores in Karachi.

“Less number of utility stores in Karachi are not acceptable in any way,” said the PM, adding that, “a comprehensive plan for raising the number of Utility Stores should be presented within two weeks.”

Later, in a tweet, PM Shehbaz said that he had directed the authorities to revamp and expand the Utility Stores network across the country, and that the ministries of Finance, Industries and Poverty Alleviation will jointly work on reforming the system.

PM Shehbaz said: “We are working toward a transparent, efficient and digital system where various subsidies will be brought under one umbrella.”   

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