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‘Inflation to worsen if subsidies withdrawn’


May 11, 2019

LAHORE: Price hike has become out of control during Ramazan and authorities could not control it. A new wave of price hike is feared if Rs700 billion subsidies are withdrawn on the IMF instruction while the government popularity is on decline in public.

These views were expressed by the experts in Jang Economic Session on “Ramazan and Price Hike”. The panellists were Hussain Ahmed Sherazi, Sajida Mir, Farah Naz Naqvi, Farooq Tariq, Azeem Bari and Yousaf Baloch while the session was hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Hussain Ahmed Sherazi said that social issues and chaos were spreading due to price hike while one percent increase in inflation pushed the half percent people below the poverty line while 50 percent of Pakistanis were already living below poverty line. He said the people responsible for inflation during Ramazan should be ashamed for their acts while public relief was the basic thing to make the state of Medina. He suggested that the general public and the government should adopt simplicity to change the economic situation. He called for practical steps by everyone for eradication of corruption as inflation was outcome of bad and weak governance.

Sajida Mir said increase in inflation with the beginning of Ramazan was painful for public while the government of slogan of change made the public lives miserable. She said unprecedented price hike on kitchen items was deplorable. She criticised the government for humiliating the public in the name of the subsidy in Ramazan bazaars. She demanded ending of middlemen’s role in supply chain for public relief.

Farah Naz Naqvi said Ramazan and price hike now interlinked with each other for many years. She called for strict system for public relief besides change of public behaviour. She suggested consumer committee to effectively control the prices along with reviving the magistrates system.

Farooq Tariq said that inflation in Ramazan has become a culture now and unfortunately nothing has changed in it despite the government was changed. He said sellers wait for Ramazan for unprecedented profits while both the government and the general public were responsible for inflation. He said situation of Ramazan bazaars was unsatisfactory due to limited subsidies. He said new wave of price hike would come if Rs700 billion subsidies withdrawn on the instructions of the IMF while the government popularity was on the decline in public. He said effective government role was required to control the price hike.

Azeem Bari said that employee class supported the PTI openly in the name of change but inflation bomb was dropped on them by increasing petroleum products prices, devaluing the currency and food inflation. He said the government instead of giving new facilities withdrew the previous ones from them while the government decisions were increasing the problems. He called for special relief in Ramazan by giving Eid allowance and increasing salaries in accordance with inflation rate.

Yousaf Baloch said that special incentive packages were given in Muslim and non-Muslim countries to the Muslim community during Ramazan while in Pakistan it had become difficult to observe fast. He said adulteration and corruption affected everyone. He suggested adopting simplicity and provision of relief to others while the state should focus on public welfare both in Ramazan and the whole year.

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