Rawalpindi : Rising vegetable prices, transport costs, and house rents are slowly squeezing household budgets forcing families to cut down on their food budgets and leaving them with virtually nothing to save.
“My cousin is an accountant with a multinational company. He desperately wanted to buy a house for his family but was forced to abandon the plan. Rising borrowing costs have dashed his dreams and soaring prices of food and vegetables forced him to change his lifestyle,” says Mureed Ali. “The government may be trying to control prices but it is not reflecting on the ground. I had a dream of buying a house but with bank interest rates rising, it seems this will remain a dream for some time now,” says Nasir Naqvi.
“I spoke to three several families across different income slabs and the view was that spiralling prices were beginning to pinch. Families blamed the government for failing to tackle prices and making life difficult for the common person,” says Noreen Abbas. “Inflation has emerged as a headache for the government and the people. Economists and policymakers say there are no easy or immediate solutions. Rising global commodity prices and soaring crude oil rates have added to the problem,” says Reza Haider.
“Food inflation has zoomed and remained stubborn for six to seven months. Economists say it will remain high for a longer period as it is difficult to predict how food prices will behave in the months ahead,” adds Reza. “The latest spurt in food prices is led by the spiraling costs of vegetable, fruit, milk, and meat. While a large part of the problem is because of supply bottlenecks, the government attributes it to the widening gap between wholesale and retail prices and the growing demand for these products. Low-income levels have worsened the situation,” says Shameer Ali.
“My family cannot afford to eat out anymore. Eating out is not an option for us. There is no scope for entertainment. If you go to entertain yourself, the petrol rate hits your pocket and the whole experience can set you back by a substantial amount,” says Zainab Abbas. “The government has not gone to the root cause of inflation. There has to be cause and effect analysis and then they should come out with solutions, says Musharraf Zaidi, a manager with an outsourcing firm. “Life has become extremely difficult for me and his family. We have stopped eating good food.