PoK: Gilgit-Baltistan govt faces backlash over wheat price hike


The opposition parties, who had declared plans for a massive protest campaign against the steep price hike, rejected the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) government’s decision to boost the subsidised wheat price from (PKR) 20 to (PKR) 32 per kg, reported Dawn.

This contentious choice was made during the GB cabinet meeting on Friday in Skardu, which was chaired by Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan.

In a press briefing with cabinet members, GB Finance Minister Mohammad Ismail said that the price adjustment was required to solve the region’s lack of wheat that was subsidised.

With this move, the GB government hopes to give targeted wheat subsidies.

“Wheat subsidy will be provided to families having an income of less than Rs40,000, government officials above grade 17, and people having above R40,000 per month will not be entitled to subsidised wheat, the cabinet had decided,” GB Finance Minister announced.

The federal government allocates (PKR) 9.5 billion annually for the procurement of 1.6 million sacks of wheat, but the funds fall short as the wheat rates surge, leading to a shortage in the region, according to Dawn.

The GB finance minister highlighted the necessity of this decision to ensure the supply of subsidised wheat to the people of the province.

During the address, GB Home Minister Shams Lone pointed out that the acquisition of 1.6m sacks of wheat would incur a cost exceeding (PKR) 20 billion, Dawn reported.

Shahzad Agha, the GB Minister for Education, stressed that after consulting with all relevant parties, the decision was made with the public interest in mind.

Subsidised wheat rates were increased from (PKR) 7.5 to (PKR) 20 earlier in June, sparking many protests across GB. 

This article has been republished from The Print.

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