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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Thursday, directed government officials to expedite preparations for the provision of targeted subsidy on essential food items to the deserving population under Ehsaas Targeted Commodity Subsidy Programme.

He issued these directives, while presiding over a high-level meeting held to review progress on the said programme.

The PM directed to fast-track deployment of the Subsidy Point of Sale System, so that economic relief could be provided to the poor through targeted subsidy on essential food commodities, an official statement said. Khan expressed satisfaction on the digital ecosystem being developed for Ehsaas subsidy initiative, the statement added.

He also appreciated the “special transparency measures” being taken to ensure transfer of targeted subsidy solely to the deserving, it added.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Reza Baqir, President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Arif Usmani, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) Muhammad Ali Shahzada, and other senior officials attended the meeting.

PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar briefed Khan on the Subsidy Point of Sale System for the Ehsaas subsidy initiative that has been developed in collaboration with the NBP.

Under this initiative, Ehsaas commodity subsidy will be administered through Ehsaas database by a network of “kiryana” (grocery) stores.

The targeted subsidy will be given on selected essential commodities.

Previously, according to federal government, under the untargeted subsidy, the benefits were availed equally by both the rich and the poor. “Even households who could easily afford market prices also availed benefits of subsidised pricing,” the government statement said.

To ensure targeted subsidy transfer, Ehsaas Subsidy Mobile Point of Sale (MPoS) will be linked to the Ehsaas databases and eligible beneficiaries will be identified through their CNICs (Computerised National Identity Cards).

The MPoS app will be used nationwide by grocery stores to provide subsidised commodities to eligible households.

The federal government plans to gradually reduce Ehsaas Programme with the expansion of Rs1.4 trillion Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP).

Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said, the KPP would be transitioned to expand, while simultaneously reducing the Ehsaas project, with an objective to make people self-sufficient. He said this at the launching ceremony of the KPP presided over by the prime minister. The underprivileged segment would get targeted subsidy on wheat, flour, sugar, and cooking oil under the KKP, the prime minister said, addressing the event.

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