News Desk |
Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Wednesday, announced the decision to reverse the increase in gas tariffs to facilitate a reduction in the prices of roti and naan. Moreover, he also approved the imposition of 10% regulatory duty (RD) on cotton imports to boost the output of cotton in the upcoming season.
These directives were launched during the meeting of the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), spearheaded by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance. The ECC, under the orders of the premier, approved the revision of gas prices for tandoors providing naan and roti in order to address the widespread protest over heightened food costs.
Reduced Prices of Roti & Naan
The orders of the premier for gas price reductions had come on Tuesday when the concerned ministries were alerted to immediately impose the reduced prices to facilitate tandoor shops and put an end to public protests.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister also noted that the premier has ordered a reduction in the price and tax duties levied on wheat flour.
Sources reveal that the national exchequer will lift the financial burden of the reductions in gas prices, and the Minister of Finance will provide a subsidy worth Rs1.5 billion to gas companies to substantiate the profits they will lose by reducing the prices.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Federal Cabinet ushered forward a much-celebrated decision to reduce the prices of roti and naan, to address the hue and cry over the aggressive hike in rates across Pakistan.
Addressing a media briefing following the cabinet meeting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information, noted, “Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken serious note of the high prices of roti and naan, and has ordered the immediate restoration of the previous prices.”
Dr. Awan noted that the premier addressed a detailed discussion on the prices of naan and roti, and gas tariffs, and consulted the relevant authorities on devising a strategy to provide immediate relief. She revealed that on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had a meeting with the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet to devise a strategy to reduce the gas tariffs, in a bid to facilitate the tandoor-walas.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Wednesday, announced the decision to reverse the increase in gas tariffs to facilitate a reduction in the prices of roti and naan.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister also noted that the premier has ordered a reduction in the price and tax duties levied on wheat flour. Currently, a naan costs around Rs12-15 across various parts of the country, however, before the hike in the prices of wheat flour and gas, the price used to be from Rs8 to Rs10. The prices of roti increase from around Rs7 to Rs12.
Read more: With rising gas prices, all eyes on TAPI
Decreased Gas Tariffs
The gas tariffs imposed on tandoors will be decreased to Rs700 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for consuming more than 300 cubic meters. Previously, they were being charged Rs1,283 per million British thermal units, which had compelled them to increase the prices of naan and roti.
The gas prices for smaller tandoors have been reduced even further, as they will now have to pay Rs110 for mmBtu per 50 cubic meters, Rs220 for 100 cubic meters, and Rs300 for 200 cubic meters.
Reports indicate that while the prices of gas have been reduced to facilitate tandoors, the prices of wheat have not been changed yet, which make a major contribution to the price of roti. The Federal Cabinet has approved a detailed survey of tandoors operating across the country in order to understand the financial impacts of decreasing gas tariff.
The ECC, under the orders of the premier, approved the revision of gas prices for tandoors providing naan and roti in order to address the widespread protest over heightened food costs.
The benefits of the revised prices will be observed across roadside restaurants, and other tandoors, and restaurants catering to the poor. Hotels and luxury restaurants are not meant to unduly benefit from this decision, as they are regarded as commercial gas connections.
The meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) directed the provincial governments to impose vigilant price control strategies. The relevant provincial authorities were ordered to ensure that the original prices of roti and naan are immediately reinstated.
Moreover, it has been decided that the decision to reinstate reduced prices will be reviewed after a period of three months, in order to examine whether the poor across the country are actually benefiting from reduced prices of roti and naan.
A report carrying an analysis on wheat consumption and prices across Pakistan was presented to the members of the ECC. The report reveals that PASSCO and other provincial food authorities have a total stock worth 7.635 million tons of wheat. The Committee was informed that after banning the exports of flour and wheat, the market prices of wheat have undergone a significant reduction.