Minister Asad Umer has predicted an easing in inflation rates in March next. It is easy for ministers to come in front of the media and state that no immediate relief can be provided to the people by the government because in the end they are not the ones getting seriously affected by exorbitant rates of inflation. The people who really have to face these challenges are the ones who are now having one meal a day instead of two. Furthermore, blaming everything on the global market is a petty move as the government’s own policies are the reason for which we are seeing such high levels of inflation. The government has been so obsessed with increasing economic growth that it forgot to do it in a healthy way which led to this price hike. However, now people are being told by ministers to eat less and buy less. They are saying this to people who already eat a little more than one meal and buy only as much as they need, which is not even a single percent of what these ministers spend on a daily basis.
If the government wants and really does care about the people, it can take measures which will give a little relief to people. Firstly, expenditures of government bodies can be reduced, especially of those that are not in dire need of finances. It can also reduce spending on non-development projects that have been initiated. These projects can be halted for as long as the prices become stable again. When this year’s budget was announced, the manufacturing industry was given subsidies and tax breaks in order to boost production and in turn increase the economic growth rate. Currently, the government does not need to increase its growth rate because it is not doing any good. Therefore, these subsidies can be taken away for the time being and put to use to alleviate poverty by reducing the sales taxes which have made it nearly impossible for people to buy necessities such as wheat and sugar. The argument provided by the government which says that in other countries commodity prices are higher than in Pakistan is a terrible justification because although the prices may be high, the per capita income of these countries is also higher than Pakistan which makes it easier for those populations to survive this global price hike. During the budget announcement, the finance minister claimed that the trickle down approach did not work for Pakistan for the past 74 years which is why this government will follow the bottoms-up approach. If this is the case then it should give relief to at least those who have been affected the most by this issue by providing them necessities like wheat and sugar at minimal prices for survival.