ISLAMABAD    -   Utility Store Corporation (USC) spokesperson on Friday said an increase in the prices of some branded items was made by the companies and corporation had nothing to do with this hike.

Despite the increase in the prices of the items, the USC was offering the same at subsidized rates across the country in or­der to provide maximum relief to the poor segments of the so­ciety, the spokesperson said.

He said that various na­tional and multinational com­panies supplying goods to Utility Stores had increased the prices of their products, which had remained stable for the last seven months.

“We do not manufacture or produce any item, rather pur­chase them from reputed and certified companies of the country.” He said that the prod­uct cost went up as raw mate­rial, production and transpor­tation costs went up. Thus, the companies had to revise the prices of their products.

“Despite this, the Utility Stores is committed to provid­ing basic and branded items to the public at lower rates as compared to the open mar­ket”, he said. The new prices of these items at utility stores are lower than the printed retail market price, he added.

The subsidized items, in­cluding ghee at Rs 300 per kg, sugar at Rs 70 per kg and 20 kg bag of flour at Rs 800 were available in abundance at all utility stores across the country. Subsidy was also being given on pulses and rice, he added.

Apart from these, hundreds of other branded items are available at cheaper rates compared to general market