Following the order by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the decision to restore the old gas tariffs for tandoors was taken in the meeting of Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).
Islamabad| The cash-strapped government of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday rolled back the gas tariff hike for roadside tandoors to bring down the prices of roti and naan in Pakistan, amid the public discontent against rising prices of essential commodities.
Pakistan is facing a serious economic crisis with short supplies of foreign currency reserves and stagnating growth. The International Monetary Fund this month approved a USD 6 billion loan over a period of three years for Pakistan to allow the country to return to sustainable growth and improve the living standards of the people. As Pakistan has initiated steps to implement tough economic reforms, the prices of petrol, gas and other essential food items have increased, hitting the common man.
The decision to restore the old gas tariffs for tandoors was taken in the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet which met following an order by Prime Minister Khan to reduce the prices of “naan and roti” after a recent spike in prices due to raging inflation in the country.
The ECC met with Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue, in the chair and “decided to provide relief to the masses by reverting the gas prices for roti tandoors to the position of 30th June 2019,” according to an official statement.
Under the decision, a detailed survey of the tandoors across the country would be carried out to ensure that the benefit of revision in gas tariff was made applicable to stand-alone tandoors or roadside restaurants catering to the poor and no undue benefit was passed on the tandoors in hotels or larger restaurants which were to be treated as commercial gas connections, according to the statement.
At present naan is selling at Rs 12 to Rs 15 in different cities of the country. However, before a spike in the gas tariff and rates of wheat flour, naan price ranged between Rs 8 and Rs 10. Similarly, roti is now being sold for Rs 10 to Rs 12 while its previous rate was Rs 7 to Rs 8.
The ECC meeting also called for effective price control by provincial governments and relevant authorities to ensure the sale of roti at its old price and decided to review the decision after three months in case the tandoor owners failed to pass the benefit of reduced gas prices to the common man.
Roti and naan are traditional varieties of fresh bread and consumed by everyone in Pakistan, and the increase in the prices had perturbed the entire population. The decision to push back the prices of bread by Khan was endorsed by the Cabinet on Tuesday, according to Dawn newspaper.
“Prime Minister Khan has taken a stern notice of increasing prices of naan and roti and decided to take immediate steps to revert them to their original rates,” according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. To help the bread-makers, Khan had ordered that they should be given special gas tariffs.
The IMF forecasts Pakistan’s economic growth will slow to 2.9 per cent this fiscal year from 5.2 per cent in 2018. In February, the State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s central bank had the only USD 8 billion left in foreign reserves.