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Utility Stores Corporation Jacks Up Prices s of Sugar, Flour, Ghee

ISLAMABAD: Despite the Prime Minister’s relief package, a notification has been issued to jack up the prices of sugar, flour and ghee at Utility Stores.

Utility Stores Corporation (USC) sources said a notification had been issued to increase the price of sugar by Rs19 per kg, ghee by Rs75 per kg, and a 20-kg bag of flour by Rs496.

They added that the new prices would be effective at Utility Stores across the country from January 1, 2023.

The new prices would not apply to the deserving beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The USC sources said the beneficiaries of the BISP would continue to buy these items at their old rates.

They added that under the prime minister’s relief package, it had been decided to sell essentials at the Utility Stores at targeted subsidies and the BISP beneficiaries fell under this category.

According to the sources, the monthly purchase limit of sugar and ghee from Utility Stores had been reduced from five kg to three kg.

Similarly, the monthly purchase limit of flour has been reduced from 40 kg to 20 kg.

The USC said the existing limit of goods for customers registered under the BISP would remain unchanged.

The BISP beneficiaries would be able to buy five kg of sugar and ghee, and 40 kg of flour per month.

Last month, the government had decided to increase the prices of essential commodities by up to 63% at the Utility Stores to reduce subsidy by Rs15 billion in the remaining period of the current fiscal year, but protected the poorest 400,000 consumers from the surge in rates.

It had been decided to reduce the monthly subsidy at the USC from Rs3.6 billion to Rs1.65 billion, a reduction of 54%.

However, the decision would not apply to the poorest 400,000 consumers, who were purchasing subsidised goods from the Utility Stores.

In April this year, it was decided that Utility Stores would sell 19 essential food items at prices lower than those in the open market under its Ramazan relief package.

The USC had announced that customers could avail a subsidy of up to Rs3,000 at any of its 4,000 retail outlets spread across the country by simply showing their CNICs.

Under the package, a 20-kg wheat flour bag would be provided to customers at Rs950. In the open market, its price was between Rs1,100 and Rs1,350.
Similarly, the 1kg of sugar would be sold at the rate of Rs85 against between Rs86 and Rs93 in the open market.

The rate of 1kg of ghee at a USC outlet would be Rs260 in comparison with Rs470 in the open market.

In June this year, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had issued directives for continuing the supply of subsidised wheat flour, sugar, cooking oil, pulses and rice to the Utility Stores.