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March 8, 2019

Call to formulate policy on inflation control


March 8, 2019

LAHORE: The government unnecessarily increased the prices of petroleum products during the recent Pakistan-India conflict whereas the people are already suffering due to inflation and encroachment issues so a comprehensive policy is needed on inflation control and encroachments removal for which the government needed to take all stakeholders on board.

These views were expressed by the experts in the Jang Economic Session on, ‘are the steps taken by the government to control inflation and encroachments satisfactory’. The panellists were adviser to chief minister and chairman task force on prices Akram Chaudhry, Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal, Aima Mehmood, Ashba Kamran, Kabir Ahmed Khan and Raja Hamid Riaz. The session was hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Akram Chaudhry said that the people of Pakistan were not ready to pay taxes while economy was under pressure and debt burdened due to tax evasion. He stressed the need of making one nation and overhauling of the system while prime minister’s decisions were not for any individual rather for public betterment. He called for promoting agriculture sector. He said the government controlled the prices through Price Control Act while a mobile application was ready which would be launched soon to rectify the overcharging and other pricing issues.

Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal said that inflationary trend was prevailing in the country while the daily use items were going out of the people’s reach. He said production sector was also facing issue due to increase in cost of production being an import-based country. He said the situation might worsen if the government did not give relief to the general public.

He said aggressive government policy on encroachments could not solve traffic and business community issues. He demanded relief for private sector to achieve the growth targets. Aima Mehmood said that the government failed to deliver up to the public expectations rather inflation and encroachments were increasing gradually which resulted in growing public woes. She suggested alternative plans for inflation and encroachments and give alternative business opportunities while removing encroachments. Increasing in utilities prices adversely affected purchasing power of the general public, she observed.

Ashba Kamran said lack of policies were the root cause of inflation, encroachments and any other issues. She said the government was more responsible for encroachments as compared to the encroachers as it failed to provide proper working opportunities to the public.

She suggested the government take stern actions against the supporters of the encroachers. Kabir Ahmed Khan said that trade unions and institutions were equally responsible as encroachers for encroachment so indiscriminate action should be taken against all the culprits while 100 percent writ of the government required to get rid of this issue. He said night bazaars and special designated bazaars could resolve the issue of encroachments while strict actions should be taken against permanent encroachments. He said that for the last two years inflation had been at its peak which affected purchasing power and practical administrative steps were required to control the situation, besides reorganising the system to control inflation and overcharging.

Raja Hamid Riaz said that encroachments were established by the mafia as both shopkeepers and department officials concerned get money from it. He demanded strict action against encroachments besides providing business and employment opportunities to traders whose businesses were affected due to anti-encroachment drive. He suggested using world successful model of night bazaars at designated places.

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