PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired an important meeting in Islamabad on Friday during which he was informed that Rs18 billion was given in the head of subsidy in power bills to merged tribal districts.

The prime minister had called the meeting for a briefing on the existing subsidies given by the government for power, fertilizers and food items. Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Finance Adviser Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Commerce Adviser Abdur Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and other officials attended the meeting, said an official statement.

The prime minister was told that as a whole, Rs251 billion subsidy is being provided in energy sector and Rs162 billion had been earmarked for the power consumers using less than 300 units, Rs8.5 billion for the agriculture tube-wells in Balochistan, Rs18 billion for merged tribal districts, Rs25 billion for K-Electric, Rs3 billion for AJK, Rs10 billion for industrial sector and Rs24 billion for supply of gas.

The prime minister was further told that for keeping flour prices under check, Rs5 billion was given for ensuring strategic reserves, Rs8 billion in terms of arrears for Gilgit-Baltistan with reference to wheat, Rs2.5 billion for Ramazan Package at the utility stores, Rs21 billion subsidy for the Prime Minister Relief Package and Rs6 billion for GB wheat package.

The premier directed the Energy Division to fully concentrate on netting the big power thieves and cartels so that the masses could be protected from exploitation and flaws in the system. He said the people must not suffer due to wrongs committed by the previous governments.

The meeting was told that the main aim behind the subsidies was to provide relief to the low-income groups and downtrodden segments of society, promotion of industries and to access to the higher education.

The PM was also briefed about the Rs192bn Ehsaas social protection programme along with details of the allocations being provided for Kafalat, Waseela Taleem, undergraduate scholarships, poverty alleviation, shifting of assets and interest-free loans, the official statement said.

Meanwhile, three MNAs from KP called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed matters regarding their constituencies. Sahibzada Sibghatullah from Upper Dir and Mehboob Shah and Mohammad Bashir Khan from Lower Dir called on Imran Khan. The prime minister assured resolution of problems related to the constituencies of the lawmakers.