MPs panel blasts Utility Stores functioning

By: News Desk      Published: 03:50 PM, 21 Apr, 2020
MPs panel blasts Utility Stores functioning

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance has expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of utility stores and hinted at the possibility of taking the matter of the pulses purchased at an exorbitant rate by the utility stores.

The members of Committee lashed out at the working of Utility Stores Corporation, and Chairman Committee Faiz Ullah Kamoka said that the largest utility store in Faisalabad had been sealed. Utility Stores purchased grams (chana) on the exorbitant rate of Rs169 per kg which must be investigated otherwise the matter would be sent to the FIA.

The other members of the committee also expressed concern over the unavailability of food items at the utility stores in Karachi’s Malir and Korangi areas.

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Meanwhile, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Raza Baqir briefed the committee that people have been given relief in the wake of the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus, and said “those who were liable to pay debts in March, now can pay by September.”

Raza Baqir further brief that “such consumers can make a schedule with their banks,” and added that the government has the discretion of writing off the loans altogether. “However, in this case, the government will have to give subsidy,” Baqir said, adding that the matter is still under consideration.

In addition, Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran Baloch briefed the committee that G20 has allowed the postponement of bilateral loans, and said that $1.7 billion could be delayed.

However, he said that the finance ministry and economic affairs division are working on it. Baloch also briefed the committee that PM relief package would soon be presented before the parliament. He said that “the government is reassessing its programme with the IMF,” and added that “We have recommended the financial aid package for the families of those died from the coronavirus,” in addition to recommending the reduction in petroleum prices.