Lahore: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has recommended subsidized prices for the under privileged for basic foodstuffs items like milk, tea, wheat flour, rice, pulses, medicines and some spices to enable them survive in the face of high inflation as it is become increasingly difficult for the low income group to survive.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said it has become very necessary for the government to announce support programme for the under privileged members of the society by issuing ration cards or tokens against National Identity Cards (NIC) whereby those who cannot afford to purchase the daily necessities at the high cost could buy the items at subsidized prices from nominated stores during selected hours.
He said this system is in practice in Iran and the token holders can procure water, milk, bread, tea, fruits, vegetables, chicken, meat, rice, wheat, pulses, medicines for themselves and their families and even fuel for their motor cycles at subsidized rates from nominated shops all over the country at selected hours notified by the government and controlled by virtue of the identity cards under computerized system.
He pointed out that it is incumbent on the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to provide the under privileged with the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter and education and the government would be failing in its duty if it does not look after the under privileged members of the society.
He emphasized the need to understand that even the under privileged citizens of the country own the country and have share in the produce of the country and it is important that especially items which are grown in the country namely wheat, rice, pulses, vegetables and fruits be subsidized for domestic consumption of the lower income group and of course exported at international prices.
The union apprehends that if no measures are taken to support the financially deprived they might resort to violence and looting and as observed the crime rate is also increasing due to inability to carry on and the burden of increasing prices has become unbearable for some members of the society.
The union has stated that the prices of essential items and necessities have increased by almost 60 percent during the last 4 years whereas the income of the salaried class has hardly increased by 10 to 20 percent and this calls for immediate attention of the policy makers.
For more information, contact:
Liaqat Ali Gohar
DGM (Admin. and PR)
Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA)
6th floor, LDA Plaza, Egerton Road, Lahore
Fax: (042) 6304926