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PM feels people’s pain

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PM feels  people’s pain

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has represented true feelings and
sentiments of the people by taking serious notice of rising
prices of essential commodities with directions to the federal and provincial governments to take immediate steps to ensure adequate supply of such items at affordable prices. In a statement issued on Wednesday, he took a very serious view of the fact that while the federal government has reduced POL prices drastically in the past few months, there is no corresponding reduction in the prices of essential commodities. Rather these are showing an upward trend.
We have been highlighting in these columns since long that the trickledown effect of the relief measures announced by the Government was not visible and profits have unduly been pocketed by industrialists, middlemen and businessmen. This is because the Government feels absolved of its responsibility after announcing such measures irrespective of the fact whether or not the benefit reaches to the end user/consumer. The very fact that the Chief Executive of the country had to take notice of the situation and issue directions to both the federal and provincial governments is reflective of failure of the price-control mechanism. There is an apex body working under the chairmanship of Minister/Advisor on Finance that routinely meets to discuss prevailing price situation but it has been observed that it doesn’t go beyond issuance of detailed handouts explaining notional measures in place to check the price hike. District Administrations used to play an effective role in this regard but their powers and responsibilities blurred in the wake of uncalled for changes made in the district setup by Musharraf government in the name of reforms that flopped subsequently. There should be clear delineation of responsibility and also clear guidelines to safeguard rights and interests of consumers. In the absence of active intervention by the Administration, prices of all items and services are hiked if there is any upward change in dollar-rupee parity, petroleum prices, rates of electricity and gas as well as imposition or increase in duties and taxes. However, there is either no reduction in prices at all or they are brought down nominally in case of downward trend in the prices of POL products and taxes and tariff. Not to speak of other goods and services, even transport fares that are directly linked to the fuel price have not been lowered commensurate with reduction in prices of petroleum products because of an unholy nexus between transporters and officials concerned. The Prime Minister has, no doubt, spoken for the people but there is need for action on the ground to translate his concern into tangible benefit for masses.

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