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July 5, 2021

‘Mini budgets’ taking their toll on public

Islamabad The monthly budget of the people has been dented heavily due to rising inflation as prices of all kitchen items have witnessed a sharp rise in the open market. The hike in rates of petroleum products, the second time in a month has started taking its toll on the lives of the common man who has to bear its brunt in the shape of rising prices of all kitchen items and transportation.

According to Pakistan Statistic Bureau (PSB), since July 1, 2021 prices of tomato witnessed a rise by Rs13.9, onion Rs5.39, garlic Rs7.80, LPG cylinder Rs51.24, ghee Rs2.50, petrol Rs1.99, diesel Rs1.37, Daal Moong by 3.45 per cent, chicken meat by 3.01 per cent, banana by 2.42 per cent, Daal Mash by 1.30 per cent, Atta by 1.05 per cent, Daal Masoor by 0.79 per cent, Daal Chana by 0.44 per cent, sugar by 0.04 per cent and prices of dry wood also rose by 0.43 per cent.

Since July 1, people are buying 1-liter milk at Rs130 against Rs110, sugar at Rs105 against Rs100, mutton at Rs1300 against Rs1200, beef at Rs700 against Rs650, rice at Rs200 against Rs180, tomato at Rs60 against Rs40, onion at Rs30 against Rs25, potato at Rs45 against Rs40, a 20-kilogram ‘atta’ bag at Rs1200 against Rs1080, 1-kilogram ghee at Rs300 against Rs290, garlic at Rs250 against Rs200 and ginger at Rs600 against Rs400. Similarly, wholesale dealers and branded companies have increased prices of all other items by Rs5 to Rs10 since July 1. The prices of vegetables also witnessed a sharp rise in the open market.

Although Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen had assured of a tax-free budget then why prices of all items are witnessing a rise every day since July 1, people belonging to different walks of life questioned.

A senior official of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) on condition of anonymity said that consumers would bear another shock when the price list of over 100 items will be issued soon. “The prices of all branded ghee and cooking oils are going to be increased by Rs200 on 5-kilogram tin from Rs1530 to Rs1730,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has also increased electricity unit by Rs2.97 which has added fuel to fire.

On the other hand, Rawalpindi-Islamabad local transporters have threatened to increase stop-to-stop fares by Rs10 and warned of going on a strike if their demands are not met. The long route transporters have also increased fares by Rs50 per ticket. The goods transporters have also increased their fares twice a month but our government is watching the whole drama with closed eyes.

District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Muhammad Rashid Ali said that we could not decide to increase transport fares. “It’s Punjab government’s jurisdiction to increase fares,” he said.

Muttahidda Naanbais Welfare Association (MNWA) President Muhammad Shafiq Qureshi has warned to increase ‘roti’ prices next week. He has demanded to fix the ‘roti’ price at Rs15 against Rs10 because flourmills have increased ‘atta’ prices.

All Pakistan Flourmills Association (Punjab) President Sheikh Kashif Shabbir also admitted that they have jacked up the price of ‘atta’ claiming they were buying wheat from the open market on skyrocketing rates. “We are buying 40-kilogram wheat at Rs2,000 from the open market,” he claimed.

The aftershocks of ‘Mini-Budgets’ have broken the back of a common man but PTI government was taking this situation very lightly and its ministers are continuously giving allusive statements in TV talk shows and press conferences.