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Monday July 04, 2022

Escalating prices deepen people’s suffering

By Our Correspondent
May 26, 2022

Islamabad : Commonplace people are having a hard time due to price hikes. It’s alarming that amid already skyrocketing prices of daily essentials retailers and wholesalers are allegedly stocking it up to create an artificial crisis.

“In the absence of effective monitoring, both retail and wholesale stores are exploiting the situation by either citing a lack of oil supply or selling them at exorbitant prices. As a result, the government-fixed prices are being ignored, and low-income customers are being disproportionately affected,” says Tahir Hussain.

“Consumers are being drowned under unusually high prices for almost all essential commodities. Insiders say the present crisis is the result of a stocking tendency within the supply chain,” says Musa Kazim.

“The government must initiate stronger interventions to check irregularities and make essentials available within the reach of ordinary customers. It must ensure fair price adjustment, and punish errant traders and importers who try to exploit the situation as well as its lax oversight of kitchen markets,” says Ali Raza.

“It is most unfortunate that the rising prices of daily essentials are forcing the middle-and low-income people across the city to compromise on their standard of living. Families are finding it hard to make both ends meet with their limited income. Many families had to reduce their consumption of nutritious food to cope with the situation,” says Salman Haider.

“Reportedly, in many families, their earning members lost jobs during the lockdowns enforced in the past to check the spread of Covid-19. While some of them could manage a temporary job, many remain jobless or without a stable source of income yet,” says Akhzar Abbas.

“Soaring prices of essentials and hikes in transport fares and utility services have only added to their woes. Many are now in huge debt, which they are unable to pay off. For some, bearing the educational expenses of their children has also become impossible,” says Noor Fatima.

The government should come up with policies to support these people to cope with the pandemic’s economic pain, but unfortunately, it has failed to do so. Instead, the prices of almost all kitchen items such as edible oil, pulses, meat, vegetables, etc. are soaring in the local markets,” says Fizza Batool. “Opinions against increasing the utility prices are enough. If the government withdraws or reduces subsidies from these sectors without addressing the governance issues and system losses, and without addressing the crisis of disappearing jobs and incomes, the ultimate burden will be on the consumers,” say experts.

Durray Shahwaar says, “During the pandemic, many low-income people slipped into poverty. In case the price hike of essential commodities and other non-food items is not checked, they will slip further below the poverty line. Therefore, the government should take into account the situation of the limited-income people and make policies that address their problems, not increase them.”

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