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EditorialHefty electricity bills squeezing the poor

Hefty electricity bills squeezing the poor

Hefty electricity bills have triggered protests in Lahore and some other cities across the country. Already the inflation rate has broken record and reached the alarming level of 42.3 percent. The prices of daily use commodities have recorded a steady increase and they are becoming out of reach of the common man. In this situation, the imposition of exorbitant taxes coupled with heavy cost of electricity units without any subsidy is leading the masses to starvation. They are finding no other option except to vent their ire by staging protests on the roads. This is just the start and the situation can further deteriorate if the government did not take timely measures to provide some relief to the masses.

In fact, the imposition of numerous taxes, duties, surcharges and fuel price adjustments have panicked citizens. The undue taxes are the result of poor policies of the government that has given certain guarantees of meeting revenue targets to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financing institutions. In order to meet these ambitious targets, the government has introduced incremental indirect taxes.

Amid this doom and gloom, the government needs to intervene to bring down the rate of poverty in the country. It is very tragic to note that the poverty and inflation rate in Pakistan is increasing day by day and more than 40 percent people within the country are living below the poverty line. With a meagre salary, it has become difficult for the majority of people to make both ends meet. A man with a fixed income finds it difficult to meet all his family needs. He is always in trouble. He cannot think of a way out. The common man is crushed. He cannot meet even his daily requirements. The prices of essential commodities and things of daily use are rising almost every other week and sometimes it happens even after two or three days while the inflated utility bills are rubbing salt in the wounds of the poor. The country needs a consistent policy for the reversal of inflation that has made the life of a common man miserable. Arguably, the situation is going from bad to worse in almost all sectors. Inflation rate is going up due to devaluation of rupee while our economy is under severe pressure of loans. The masses have become sick of this unfortunate situation and do not know whom to trust for providing a real economic relief. They are losing confidence on the government due to its inability to bring economic reforms. Wisdom demands that the PML-N leadership should carry out serious introspection before making economic policies for overcoming the economic challenges; otherwise it would face the masses’ wrath in the next general elections.

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