PRIME Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin held two important meetings on Monday to take stock of the situation arising out of phenomenal increase in the prices of vegetable ghee and oil as well as iron and cement but these proved to be inconclusive as no tangible decision was taken to arrest the upward trend in prices.
The Prime Minister, of course, issued directions for steps to ensure uninterrupted supply as per the demand for the raw material used in the construction sector as also the issues related to supply and demand of the basic commodities like ghee but the ‘steps’ remain unspecified.
The Prime Minister is visibly disturbed over rising prices of different commodities and this is reflected in a series of meetings he has held so far on the issue but the trend continues.
Food inflation is particularly worrisome as it affects each and every citizen and according to latest reports the prices of food items more than doubled during the last three years.
The Government surely intervened in the case of wheat and sugar as imports improved the supply side but their prices did not come down and instead soared further.
Similarly, the prices of cooking oil and ghee were frequently raised by manufacturers on different pretexts but they did not pass on the relief to the end consumer when prices of palm oil fell by $125 per ton in June this year.
The Prime Minister also announced a comprehensive relief package for the construction industry as per his vision to provide affordable housing to all citizens but the package has been undermined by steep rise in prices of iron bars and cement.
The prices of raw material do increase in the international market but it is the responsibility of the Government to adjust duties and taxes accordingly to guard against their negative impact on the masses and the economy.