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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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EditorialRecord breaking inflation rate

Record breaking inflation rate

The graph of inflation caused by the extraordinary increase in petroleum products, electricity prices and tax rates, coupled with the widespread calamity due to climate-change-infested unprecedented rains and river flooding has broken the back of the poor man, and lower middle classes across Pakistan. Inflation is on the upward trend and the rate of increase in prices at the end of July was 38.63 percent. According to the Sensitive Price Index, inflation is going upward unchecked and the week ending on August 25 saw a record 44.58 per cent inflation year-on-year. The public is rightly perturbed at the rising trend of inflation despite the rise in the value of the rupee against the dollar in recent weeks. The most hit areas of the rising inflation trends are essential food items, such as   pulses, onions, tomatoes and edible oil. The high prices of fuel in the international market have their direct consequences on the local economy have increased transport cost, power bills and the production cost of almost all industrial operations. The recent nationwide rains and floods have paralysed the routine life, and crops in Sindh and Balochsitan areas have been wiped out. The calamity has had the greatest effect on the prices of many other essential commodities including vegetables, meat, chicken and eggs. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, during the past week, tomato saw an increase of Rs47 per kg, onion Rs70, potato Rs10, and garlic Rs40. Eggs were sold Rs20 more from the last week, pulses by Rs10, LPG by Rs51 per kg, and milk by Rs10 per litre. In the last two weeks alone, the rate of increase in the prices of the essential goods went up by five percent, while in recent days there are reports of damage to standing crops due to floods, due to which they are short in the market. Onion was sold at Rs240 per kg in the market on Friday and Saturday in Lahore alone, and shockingly, no relevant government official appeared to take action against the traders. On the other hand, profiteers and wholesalers are already have started making the most of the occasion and are selling even relief goods at higher prices given their high demands. This is shame and the failure of all of us a civilised society. Instead of giving relief to the flood-hit people by selling the goods at subsidized rates, profiteers saw it an occasion to make money. The Sindh government has started a crackdown on such elements, and hopefully, other provinces would follow the suit.  The federal and provincial governments and the local administration of every city need to keep a close eye on the situation and profiteers should not be allowed to act arbitrarily. Those who put the poor people in more trouble due to general inflation should be arrested. There should be no room for delay in taking disciplinary action against them. There is no doubt that public anger is on the rise day by day, and people have started burning power bills, and calling for a civil disobedience movement. The government must not forget that the ruling parties used to criticise the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for its failure to control prices. Before the public anger explodes into widespread protest rallies, the rulers should take stocks of the affairs.

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