Mobile Stores Initiative benefits 11 million rural residents

November 24, 2022

Mansoor Sadiq

The government has launched Mobile Utility Stores in the rural areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in order to supply subsidized basic commodities to the people on their doorstep, reports WealthPK. Talking exclusively to INP-WealthPK, Managing Director of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Muhammad Ali Ammer said in view of the prime minister’s initiative of Mobile Utility Stores, the people in the rural and far-flung areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are being supplied with basic commodities like flour, sugar, rice and ghee at subsidized and comparatively lower prices.

Under this initiative, vans laden with flour bags, sugar and ghee are taken to the rural areas to facilitate the people on their doorstep, he said, adding that a total of 200 Mobile Utility Stores have been put in operation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following the demand of the people. These stores have been facilitating the public in their respective localities. The idea of mobile stores was conceived to facilitate the public in all those areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the USC (Utility Stores Corporation) outlets are not available, Ammer said.

In all these remote and rural areas, special sales points for flour have been set up to facilitate the general public, he added. The USC managing director said to ensure transparency in provision of the basic commodities to the public at subsidized rates, a digitalized subsidy mechanism has been developed with the coordination of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation. The customers are required to SMS their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number to 5566 from their cell phones.

After completing this formality, the customers get One-Time Password (OTP) for shopping and are entitled to purchase subsidized commodities by showing the OTP and CNIC to the USC outlet. The customers visiting the USC outlets are not required to show OTP and CNIC to purchase items other than the subsidized commodities. The digitized system ensuring transparency in the supply of subsidized items of daily use has improved the overall efficiency of the USC turning it into a profitable entity, said Ammer. In a recent briefing on the USC and Mobile Stores Initiative, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Industries and Production Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi specifically instructed the USC to introduce the Mobile Utility Stores in the rural areas in order to enhance the public trust in them for quality and subsidized items.

When asked about the sale of subsidized food items at the USC outlets in far-flung areas, the USC managing director said following the instructions of the government, the initiative has also been launched in the remote areas of Sindh and Balochistan, including Rojhan Mazari and Dera Ghazi Khan. He said vans have been dispatched to the far-flung areas with subsidized flour bags and other items to facilitate the public. He said an estimated 11 million people from the downtrodden segment of the country have benefited from the USC relief packages.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk