Announcing a major reduction of Rs250 per kilogram in the ghee price, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Monday said the commodity would be available at all utility stores across the country at Rs300/kg whereas a bag of 10kg flour bag was already being provided at the utility stores at Rs400. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, she said in 2018, the price of flour was Rs35 per kg but when the PTI came to power the pockets of mafias and cartels were filled and people were crushed under unprecedented inflation. “To mitigate the problems of the consumers, the present government from day one has been taking steps to provide subsidies and relief to protect people from the effects of inflation,” Marriyum said. She said in 2018, the price of flour increased from Rs35 per kg to Rs90 and then to Rs100 per kg during the last four years and its quality was also compromised in the whole country, including utility stores. She recalled that during the PTI era, flour was not only smuggled out, but also exported and then imported, causing an increase in price. Similarly, sugar was first exported and then imported and its price was more than doubled to benefit the mafias. Marriyum said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had fixed the price of flour at the utility stores at Rs400 per 10kg keeping in view the rising rate of inflation. She said from June 1, 2022, a scheme was started to provide flour at the rate of Rs400 per 10 kg through the utility stores in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Owing to the shortage of utility stores in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 100 mobile utility stores have been added there since June 6, 2022, through which subsidized flour is being provided to the people,” the minister added. She said on June 9, an additional 500 points were immediately allocated for delivery of flour to the utility stores and today 100 more points had been added. She said, now besides utility stores, about 700 mobile vans and 600 points were selling flour at Rs400 per 10kg in the province. Marriyum Aurangzeb disclosed that so far 262,434 10kg flour bags had been distributed at 600 sales points. For the convenience of people in these areas where utility stationary points or mobile vans could not reach, toll free number 080005590 has been given on which the consumers could register their grievances. In addition, complaints about flour quality or price difference could be lodged on a toll free number 051-111123570. Referring to the price of ghee, she said in 2018, during the PML-N era, the price of ghee was Rs150 per kg. In the last four years, ghee was being sold at Rs550 to Rs600. The minister said a subsidy for ghee was introduced on June 9 with a total volume of Rs3 billion. She said the price of ghee had reached Rs550 per kg in the market. A monitoring system has been set up in the utility stores for complaints of shortage of flour, sugar and other commodities and to oversee matters such as selling ghee at exorbitant prices in the market. In addition, price control committees have been constituted, which would monitor hoarding and sale of items at higher prices. The minister said that if the public noticed a difference in prices at the utility stores or if these items were not available, they could call on the toll free number to register their complaint and the monitoring team will take immediate action on public complaints. She said a subsidy of Rs17 billion had been earmarked in the budget for sugar, ghee and flour. Moreover, she said, Rs2,000 per month was being given to the poor people registered in the BISP. In addition, people earning less than Rs40,000 can avail themselves of petrol and diesel subsidy by sending an SMS to 786. She said this subsidy was being given in view of the plight of people. Taking a dig at the PTI leadership, she said those who had adopted the narrative of external conspiracy were giving lectures on inflation today. She recalled that Imran Khan used to say that he did not become the prime minister to control the prices of tomatoes and potatoes. “People have been suffering inflation for the last four years, while the present government has been in power for the last two months and it has been striving to provide relief to the people from inflation,” Marriyum continued. The minister said that during the last four years, the pockets of the mafia and She said people would be updated on a daily basis and the prime minister was monitoring all the complaints himself. She said people knew why difficult decisions were being taken today. She said that in the last four years, the wave of inflation had increased tremendously due to inefficiency of the previous regime and the government was taking steps to reduce the burden of inflation. “We will lead the country towards economic stability as the bulk of the budget was earmarked for the agricultural sector. There is zero tax on tractors, seeds and other agricultural inputs. There is also zero tax on renewable energy”, she concluded.