Govt evolving transparent subsidy mechanism: Dr Sheikh

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The National Assembly was informed on Friday that the government plans to evolve a transparent mechanism for fair distribution of subsidies to poor segments of the country. In a written reply to the house finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the government is providing subsidy on food items through Utility Stores Corporation. Rs2 billion were allocated in the current budget for Ramzan package besides Rs4 billion have been allocated to import sugar to avoid its shortage and price hike in the local market.
Power sector subsidy: The finance minister said Rs81 billion have also been allocated for providing subsidy to power sector. This subsidy is meant to provide relief to consumers on electricity bills. He said four point two million life line consumers are being charged at the rate of Rs1.87 per unit while average determined tariff is Rs9.57 per unit.
Hafeez Sheikh said a cabinet committee has been constituted to rationalise subsidy and eliminate circular debt. The committee has completed its deliberations with various stakeholders and is likely to submit its recommendations to the cabinet. Minister of state for production, Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, informed the house during question hour that work on major infrastructure projects including Diamir Bhasha Dam has been initiated to achieve targets set in Vision 2030.
Stabilising the economy: He said completion of these projects will lead to more electricity generation as well as availability of water for agriculture productivity, which will ultimately help stabilise the economy. He said provinces surpassed medium-term development framework targets by 152 per cent due to substantial investment in the health, education and development sectors.
Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, while responding to a supplementary question, said the federal bureau of revenue has been restructured to enhance revenue collection and bring transparency in the system. He said responsibility has been fixed on those involved in giving false figures of tax collection.
National security: Interior minister Rehman Malik said strict measures are being taken to avert issuance of computerised national identity cards to aliens. He said in Balochistan eight thousand cards issued to foreign nationals including Afghans have been blocked by NADRA.