Thursday June 20, 2024

Govt claims of reducing inflation to 20% perturb public

By Khalid Iqbal
April 22, 2024
Vendors are selling vegetables at a market. — Online/File
Vendors are selling vegetables at a market. — Online/File

Islamabad:It is interesting to note that the government has claimed to reduce the inflation rate from 38 per cent to 20 per cent. However, the public is confused as petrol prices have been increased twice in a month by over Rs15 per litre.

A common man is finding it hard to comprehend the statement of the Federal Finance Minister as the price of everyday commodities has been on the rise for over three months. For instance, 1 kilogram of chicken meat is being sold at Rs870, ladyfinger at Rs300 per kilogram, onion at Rs250 per kilogram, and a 20-kilogram bag of 'Atta' is being sold at Rs2850 to Rs3050 in open market shops.

Many people from all walks of life have been asking if inflation can decrease after the increase in POL prices. And many who talked to ‘The News’ on Sunday were putting up the same queries.

Following the increase in POL prices, all transporters, especially goods transporters, have increased their fares by 25 per cent. Although Federal Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, while addressing a think-tank in Washington DC, stated that inflation has decreased from 38 per cent to 20 per cent.

According to a survey conducted by 'The News', both edible and non-edible items are being sold at exorbitant prices. The prices of onions, all kinds of vegetables, and especially chicken, have skyrocketed, making it difficult for the common man to make ends meet. In response, a large number of consumers have started a 'Chicken Boycott Campaign' on social media, but prices have continued to increase. Moreover, all ghee and cooking oil companies have once again raised the prices of their products by Rs15 to Rs20 per kilogram.

One kilogram of chicken meat is being sold at Rs870 per kilogram while mutton is being sold at Rs2200 to Rs2500 and beef at Rs1300 to Rs1500 per kilogram. Milk sellers are charging exorbitant prices by selling 1-liter milk at Rs200 to Rs240 and yogurt at Rs220 to Rs250 per kilogram.

For over three months, a kilogram of onions has been selling at a price ranging from Rs250 to Rs300. Despite these exorbitant prices, no action has been taken against the sellers. The prices of other vegetables are also quite high; potatoes are selling for Rs150 per kilogram, while ginger and garlic are being sold for Rs600 and Rs400 per kilogram, respectively. Ladyfingers, eggplant, bottle gourd (kadoo or lauki), taro root (arvi), bitter gourd (karela), and sponge gourd (tori) are all being sold at Rs300, Rs180, Rs150, Rs200, Rs200, and Rs200 per kilogram, respectively.

All items were being sold at high prices, but some of them were being sold at exceptionally high prices as compared to their old rates. Although the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had implemented high-interest rates to discourage non-essential purchases, administrative measures such as government-approved increases in gas prices have negated the impact of these measures. This has significantly contributed to the surge in inflation in the country.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Flourmill Owners Association recently claimed that they would reduce the price of a 20-kilogram bag of 'Atta' by Rs400. However, the Punjab government has not yet issued any official notification regarding this. The residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are sceptical about inflation easing as the prices of dollars, petroleum products, electricity, and gas continue to increase. They are uncertain about how the situation will improve.

The public is becoming increasingly concerned with the government's claim of reducing inflation to 20%. While it's a positive step, it's important to consider the impact it will have on the economy and the daily lives of citizens. The government must take effective measures to ensure that this claim turns into a reality.