The tenure of the present government is nearing its end; the worst aspect of its bad report card is the sharp rise in the prices of almost everything sold in the market and outside.
Analysts agree that in the 16-month tenure of the coalition government, the steep rise in prices of food items, transport charges and utility bills for electricity and gas has put an unbearable burden on consumers.
There are many factors behind this uncontrolled inflation; the rise in global prices of goods and the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar have further increased the price of imported goods.
In addition, the government accepted almost all the demands of the IMF to get loans, which increased the difficulties of the citizens, while the manufacturers of goods in the private sector also continued to increase the prices.
Despite a good wheat crop of 20 million tonnes and imports of 2.73 million tonnes at a cost of more than $1 billion during the last financial year, flour prices reached record highs.
Flour millers continued to increase flour prices citing delays in the release of wheat by provincial governments, reliance on expensive wheat from the open market, nearly a 100 percent increase in the procurement price offered to wheat farmers and smuggling of wheat to Iran and Afghanistan.
The rest of the loss was due to the influx of investors, hoarders and speculators into the wheat and sugar sectors, with no serious progress to recover the piles.
Despite an 8.5% increase in palm oil imports to 3 million tonnes during 2022-23, ghee and cooking oil prices increased significantly.
The most shocking increase in electricity bills was seen in the form of increased tariff of Rs 7.5 per unit and further increase in various adjustments in various charges.
The increase in petrol and diesel prices by more than Rs 100 per liter also burdened the already distressed consumers, who are still waiting for the positive impact of importing 100,000 tons of Russian crude oil, gas charges have increased from Rs 141.57 to Rs 295.
Mohammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, said that during the last 16 months, the average inflation has been 27 percent, which has resulted in an equal increase in the average cost of daily life.
He said that the main reasons for the increase in the prices of food items are the significant depreciation of the rupee and the global prices of goods because Pakistan imports most of the food items or their prices are linked to the value of the dollar.
Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association (KWGA) Chairman Rauf Ibrahim said the cost of daily living has almost doubled due to the steep rise in the prices of food items, utilities and transport.
Rauf Ibrahim lamented that the government’s inattention led to speculation on the hoarding and prices of wheat, sugar and rice.