Downward trend in prices

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IN an encouraging development, the weekly inflation rate has decreased to 40.58% year-on-year for the second consecutive week, reflecting the success of the timely measures taken by the Government to check food scarcity and price-hike.

Data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed that the average prices of 10 essential items, onions, tomatoes, bananas and other items declined during the outgoing week.

Prices of 30 items, including tea and eggs, have risen while rates for 11 essential goods remained unchanged.

We have been emphasizing in these columns that apart from other factors like steep depreciation of rupee against dollar and frequent upward revision of prices of POL products as well as electricity and gas tariff, the prevailing record price-hike is deeply linked to the ability of the authorities concerned to take timely merit-based decisions and initiate action against those responsible for artificial hike in prices.

In the past, some commodities were allowed to be exported without proper assessment of the domestic requirements and then a considerable time was consumed in allowing their import.

Similarly, there were a host of reports about unilateral increase in prices by different mafias but the Government took no tangible action against them.

Prices of perishable items increased tremendously in recent weeks due to destruction of standing crops and vegetables in flood affected areas and disruption of supply chains but the Government moved quickly to arrange imports from neighbouring countries as a result of which the situation is gradually coming back to normalcy.

The Prime Minister also took strong exception to the reality that the ghee and edible oil industry was not transferring benefits of reduced prices of palm oil in the international market to local consumers.

Since then, some brands have lowered their prices, though not proportionate to the reduction of the price in the global market.

However, some brands are still adamant not to provide relief to the consumers and a strong action is warranted against them.

Transport fares have also been increased unjustifiably because of lack of proper vigilance and check by the provincial transport departments.

Things can improve a lot if there is proper coordination between the federal and provincial governments and administrative machinery is activated to initiate action against profiteers.

 

 

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