The government has raised the prices of wheat flour, sugar, and ghee sold via Utility Stores Corporation (USC) by 25 to 62 percent with immediate effect.
According to documents seen by ProPakistani, sugar prices have increased by 27 percent under the new rates from Rs. 70 to Rs. 89 per kg, ghee by 25 percent or Rs. 75 to Rs. 375 per kg, while the price of wheat flour has been jacked up by 62 percent from Rs. 40 to Rs. 64.8 per kg.
Subsequently, the government has decided to exempt beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) from the price hike and give targeted subsidies to registered citizens on flour, ghee, and sugar at USC stores. Poor beneficiaries tagged under the BISP scorecard will get flour at the rate of Rs. 40 per kg, sugar at Rs. 70 per kg, and ghee at Rs. 300 per kg.
Moreover, poor consumers who are registered BISP payees will get up to Rs. 20 per kg discount on pulses and rice. Conversely, other USC shoppers will have to pay as per the new rates mentioned above, while their monthly purchases would also be restricted, with no more than 20kg of flour and 3kg each of sugar and ghee allowed per month.
USC customers will have to verify their monthly purchase eligibility before shopping at utility stores by sending an SMS to 5566 in order to receive a one-time password (OTP) and national identity card (NIC) confirmation in order to take advantage of subsidies under the BISP category. All they have to do is share their OTP at the USC point of sale (POS) counter of their choice and obtain subsidized items.
The system will automatically restrict adding ghee, flour and sugar more than the available quota for all consumers.
Meanwhile, USC stores in Khyber Pakhutnkhwa have been authorized to perform sales transactions through USC Odoo POS or mobile app. If items are sold through the USC POS, all sales would be updated in real-time. In the case of Mobile App transactions, USC managers will update sales data in Odoo ERP System on a daily basis.
Pertinently, the new system is aimed at ensuring a transparent supply of subsidized essential commodities (flour, ghee, sugar, pulses, and rice) and to assist poor people while curbing subsidy waste.