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EditorialHighest level of inflation

Highest level of inflation

Inflation has peaked at 21.3 percent in the month of June. Such circumstances were last witnessed in 2008 when the PPP took charge of the government after military dictator Parvez Musharraf’s rule. Currently, inflation has broken people’s backs. Fuel prices have skyrocketed and consequently prices of other commodities have also reached unprecedented levels. Moreover, the prices of cooking oil have increased due to Indonesia’s export ban due to local shortages. The transport index also saw the greatest rise by 62.2 percent which has made it nearly impossible for people to travel without spending an arm and leg. This has also affected many transport businesses like a startup that provided within-city travel by vans for a small price. Such companies have either halted operations or reduced the number of routes on which they were operating. People have been greatly affected by this as these companies were providing cost-effective traveling solutions which are no longer available.

The former government’s policies were time and again grilled by then opposition parties. Videos have resurfaced of political leaders, especially of Maryam Nawaz, claiming the hike in petrol prices to Rs118 to be the worst till date. Now the same party is a participant in increasing the prices exponentially to a whopping Rs249 as of now and these prices are likely to further increase. It is no secret that the previous government kept prices artificially low by placing subsidies. However, that was a smart move as it kept inflation levels low and subsequently all other indicators also did not get out of bounds. The current government is claiming to not have finances for subsidies but recently the Punjab Police has been given Rs930 million to buy new vehicles. It may be that the police department needed new vehicles; however, this was not the time to allocate a hefty amount for such an activity. This money could have been used somewhere else to make the life of the common man better. However, such decisions clearly show the priorities of the government and their agenda for which they came to power by ousting the previous government which had qualified professionals attending to the needs of the economy. Political turmoil and bad policies have left Pakistan in shambles.

Inflation is likely to further increase in the coming months with tightening of policies due to the reenactment of the IMF’s loan programme. There will be food and non-food inflation which will reduce the purchasing power of people and may also leave them unemployed as more and more businesses cut costs or shut down. The growth rate is also in decline. The future seems to be darker than it was expected earlier, therefore, people should plan ahead and not rely on the government to bring about any positive changes.

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