KARACHI: Hoarders have achieved their goal of shooting up the prices of all those food items the consumption of which goes up in Ramazan, traders said on Saturday.
“The prices of food items have gone up in the last two months due to hoarding, especially of those items which are consumed more in Ramazan,” said a trader, requesting anonymity.
Sugar is being sold at Rs75 per kilogram in retail. It was available at Rs66 in May. The price of ghee has increased by about four rupees per kilogram during last two months to Rs165.
The price of cooking oil surged by seven rupees per kilogram to Rs160. The price of basin (gram flour) has soared by five rupees per kilogram to Rs80.
The prices of Kabli chana, daal chana, daal mong, daal mash have also been raised, he added.
He said that the country has produced bumper crops of all major food items including sugarcane, wheat and rice, but prices have been climbing up since May.
Similarly, the prices of ghee and cooking oil are on the rise in the country despite decline in palm oil in Malaysia from where Pakistan imports edible oil, he added.
“Hoarders started stocking select food items about two months ago with an aim to sell them during Ramazan at higher price.”
Price-hike is the gift of Ramazan for people from watchdogs, who have given free hand to hoarders to stock food items at their free will, he said.
There was no check on hoarding of such edible items by government agencies, he said.
Muhammad Farooq, advisor of Retail Grocers Alliance Karachi, said that there was a difference of Rs25 per kilogram in rates in retail market and those in the price list issued by the government for July 16-31.
He said ghee is Rs11 per kilogram higher in retail market than the price quoted in the government’s price list; cooking oil is eight rupees more expensive; basin (gram flour) seven rupees, sugar five rupees, Kabli chana Rs25, daal chana eight rupees, daal mong seven rupees, and the price of daal mash is Rs17 per kilogram higher than quoted in the price list of the government. The price list is issued by Enterprise and Investment Promotion Department, formerly run by City District Government of Karachi.
He said that the government has announced Rs2 billion subsidies on 16 items to be provided at utility stores under the Ramazan package at prices lower by Rs4-Rs40 per kilogram, but a significant number of the people do not have access to such stores, particularly in rural areas.