ISLAMABAD: Due to prudent policies and reforms introduced in the Utility Store Corporation of Pakistan (USC), its annual sales jumped from Rs 2.5 billion in 2002 to Rs.60 billion during 2010.“Both annual and monthly sales of USC are constantly increasing as we offer quality with low prices on different items at our more than 5000 stores as compared to open market which is also a sign of the confidence of our valued customers,” Javaid Manzoor Ghouri General Manager Public Relations and Planning Division of the organization told media here.Mr.Ghouri said that it is the policy of the government that people especially the poor must get relief in the prices of commodities including the edible items as compared to market rates while eliminating the role of middle man.The USC is directly purchasing the products from the manufacturers and pass on the price relief to the masses, he remarked.He added that it is always the effort of the USC to get the items from the producers on subsidized rates and pass on the relief to the people in terms of prices and quality.Replying to a question, he said that sometimes the prices at the USC increases and decreases and are directly linked to the prices its gets from the manufactures.“If we get the commodities on cheaper rates we sell them on discount rates to the customers and sometimes the manufactures increase the prices of their items and we get them on higher rates and increase their prices at our outlets also”, he remarked.Replying to a question, he said that the prices of Ghee and Edible oil had been increased at the outlets of the USC and attributed the increase to the rise in the prices of edible oil from US $ 1290 per ton impacting the prices of the commodity at the local markets.Despite the increase in the prices of Ghee and Edible oil at USC, the customers are getting the items at Rs.10 to Rs. 15 less than open market in the country.“The USC purchases the Ghee and oil from the local suppliers including national and multinational companies and they have also increased in the prices of the commodity and thus we have also passed the impact to our consumers”, he remarked.When asked about the quality of sugar at USC, he said that the TCP imports ACUMSA-45 Sugar which is the best international standard in terms of sweetness and quality of the commodity.
“Though the sugar available at the USC outlets is in the powdered form but meets the best international standards”, he remarked.Regarding the quality of pulses he rejected the allegations of some elements with vested interest that the quality of pulses at USC outlets is substandard. “The pulses are being purchased from the genuine sources and we can not compromise on the quality of the commodities”, he added.Replying to another question, Javaid Ghouri said that USC has a strong check and balance system on its outlets to monitor the performance and the activities of its staff dealing the businesses.
“There is one area manager for every 4-5 USC outlets who is bound to visit daily the store and take notice of any mismanagement over there. Moreover regional manager also visits once a week and our vigilance teams make surprise visits,” he added.He said that complaint cells as well as Books for complaints and suggestions have been placed at the outlets of the stores.He said that immediate action is taken against the staff if received a complaint from any customer.He also urged the people to help the corporation by registering complaints against the mismanagement against any person at the USC outlets.He informed that action against 500 persons have been taken by the Managing Director of the USC Arif Khan who are involved in mismanagement and malpractices – APP