Pak Govt Raises Prices

Pak Govt Raises Prices Of Flour, Ghee, Sugar In Utility Stores

The Pakistan government has increased the prices of wheat flour, sugar, and ghee by 25 to 62 percent for sale through the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) with immediate effect to reduce the impact of untargeted subsidies, reported The Dawn.

The Dawn report said, “The beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would be exempt from the price increase, while the limit for subsidized purchases from the USC has also been curtailed.”

The USC notified the new rates on Saturday, New Year’s Eve after the country’s federal cabinet approved Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s recommendation to clear a hybrid model of subsidies involving targeted and untargeted elements of the prime minister’s relief package.

The price of sugar under the new rates has increased to Rs89 per kg from Rs70 per kg, an increase of 27 percent. The price of ghee has increased to Rs375 per kg from Rs75 per kg. The Wheat flour price has increased to Rs64.8 per kg from Rs40 per kg, a 62 percent increase.

Special, targeted subsidies will, however, be available to the poor populations registered in the BISP’s scorecard and below PMT-32 (Proxy Means Test to describe people below the poverty line), the USC said.

They would get wheat flour at Rs400 per 10 kg bag, ghee at Rs300 per kg, and sugar at Rs70 per kg. A discount of Rs15-20 per kg on pulses and rice will be available to them.

“However, their monthly purchasing limits have been capped to avoid the misuse of subsidies. Therefore, BISP beneficiaries under PMT-32 would be allowed to purchase a maximum of 40kg of wheat flour, 5kg of sugar, and 5kg of ghee per month,” reported The Dawn.

The Dawn report said: “All other USC customers would now be provided wheat flour at Rs648 per 10kg bag, and ghee and sugar at Rs375 and Rs89 per kg, respectively.”

There will be a limit on the monthly purchase of these customers. They would not be allowed to avail more than 20kg of flour and Rs3kg each for sugar and ghee per month.

Earlier, they were eligible for 40kg of flour and 5 kg each of ghee and sugar.

The people of this category were earlier eligible for 40kg of flour and 5kg each for ghee and sugar.

The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the USC, will be provided wheat flour at Rs400 per 10kg bag through designated sales points and mobile utility stores.

USC customers before visiting the store will be required to secure their monthly purchase eligibility through an SMS on 5566. They will then be provided with a one-time password and national identity confirmation to avail of the subsidy. (ANI)

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India Inflation 5.88%

India Inflation Dips 11-Month Low In November To 5.88%

India’s retail inflation rate based on Consumer Price Index declined to 5.88 percent in November from 6.77 percent during the previous month, according to data released on Monday by the ministry of statistics.

This essentially means retail inflation in India is now at an 11-month low and it declined below 6 percent, which is in RBI’s comfort zone.

The central bank had so far already hiked the key policy rate by 225 basis points since May to 6.25 percent to cool off domestic retail inflation that has stayed above the RBI’s upper tolerance limit for over three quarters now.

Under the flexible inflation targeting framework introduced in 2016, the RBI is deemed to have failed in managing price rises if the CPI-based inflation is outside the 2-6 percent range for three quarters in a row.

An out-of-turn meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India was held in early November to discuss and draft the report to be sent to the central government for having failed in maintaining the inflation mandate.

The meeting was called under Section 45ZN of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act 1934, which pertains to steps to be taken if the central bank fails to meet its inflation-targeting mandate. Further details about the special meeting are not officially in the public domain. (ANI)

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Pakistan Suffer 10-20% Rise In Rice and Wheat Prices Amid Floods

Pakistan has increased the prices of wheat, and flour by up to 10-20 per cent, amid the ongoing inflation in the country, local media reported on Saturday.

Their prices of the wheat and wheat flour skyrocketed by up to 10-20 per cent on the outlook for a possible delay in the sowing of the staple crop in October and a doubling of the grain support price to Rs4,000 per 40/kg by the Sindh government for the next cultivation season, The Express Tribune reported.

The wheat flour price has increased by PKR20-25 per kilogram in a matter of a few days to PKR120-125/kg in Karachi, the newspaper stated citing people and grocery sellers.

On Friday, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said in its report that the wheat flour price increased on average by 7.51 per cent nationwide to PKR106.38/kg in the week that ended on September 15 compared to PKR98.95 in the prior week which ended on September 8.

Similarly, the wheat (grain) price surged 14 per cent in a week to PKR88/kg compared to PKR77.42/kg in the prior week.

“Wheat has jumped 30 per cent in three months (as per PBS),” Ismail Iqbal Security Head of Research Fahad Rauf said, as per The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government, which took over in April 2022, is grappling with multiple political and economic crises. Its current account deficit has surged to USD 17.4 billion or 4.6 per cent the size of the economy during the last fiscal year on the rising trade deficit.

A surging current account deficit amid depleting dollar inflows from multilateral and bilateral lenders, and shrinking foreign investment have brought the foreign exchange reserves and rupee under enormous pressure over the last several months.

It has stoked rapid inflation, forced the State Bank to boost borrowing costs to a multiyear high and eroded investor confidence in the economy. (ANI)

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Union Budget 2021-22

Watch – ‘Health, Defence Important; What About Inflation?’

Common people have given a mixed response to Union Budget 2021-22. While some feel that there is little effort to hold back rising prices in Budget, there are others who feel the financial document has kept its focus on two biggest challenges before the country: outside threat on border and inside dangers of pandemic.

Although relief to senior citizens is appreciated, rise in petrol price has been a big concern as it will only lead to overall increase in commodity prices.

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