Govt doctrine & inflation-ridden people | By Attiya Munawer


Govt doctrine & inflation-ridden people

RISING inflation across the country is becoming a major internal challenge for the government, with daily reports of rising prices of various commodities.

The Central Power Purchase Agency sent a summary to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority based on a proposal to increase the price of electricity by Rs 2.7.

On the same day, the price of wheat in the open market had also been increased. Wheat is being collected at Rs 2300 per quintal instead of Rs 2100. Utility stores, which provide essential services, have also announced price hike for a number of items.

In the wake of rising prices, government spokespersons are sprinkling more salt instead of ointment on people’s wounds, saying commodity prices have risen in Pakistan but they are still much lower than in other countries in the region.

Instead of increasing the source of income of the common man, the government is constantly increasing inflation, while the government officials seem to be making bizarre claims without looking at the region’s prices.

Inflation in the country has never been due to shortage of goods nor is the changing situation in the region affecting it.

The effect of mismanagement and inactivity of institutions in Pakistan is that market forces are engaged in skinning consumers instead of reasonable profits and no one is going to ask them.

Officials of the institutions that keep prices stable in the market warm their pockets and sleep soundly.

It is a fact that the government looks helpless in the face of the inflation mafia. The Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Punjab take notice of the inflation and instruct to rectify the situation.

For some sections of the people, the supply of flour and sugar at discounted rates is also ordered but practically nothing seems to be happening.

How can the government itself, by gradually increasing the prices of petroleum, electricity and gas, expect that there will be no increase in the prices of commodities in the market? The government imposes the entire burden on the people under the guise of economic recovery and urges patience, but the people have run out of patience.

The people have changed their decision in the cantonment elections and made it clear to the government that if the people’s issues were not addressed, the people will not make concessions to the ruling class.

The PTI’s promises to the people in the 2018 elections included a reduction in the prices of essential commodities, so as to provide relief to the common man and alleviate his problems.

More than three years have passed, but the government still seems to be failing miserably in its promise to curb rising inflation.

On the contrary, the rise in inflation and unemployment over the past three years has left the people in a state of disarray, while the government, instead of providing relief to the people, is dropping one inflation bomb after another on people in the form of price hike in electricity and petrol.

If the people continue to grind in the mill of inflation in the government’s verbal good news, then it will not be difficult instead it will be impossible for the PTI to get a public mandate again in the next general elections.

The government economists should understand that no economy can be sustained by a steady rise in inflation, for which it is necessary to increase the income of the common man by adopting solid and industry-friendly policies.

—The writer is a regular columnist, based in Lahore.

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