'No immediate relief' from soaring prices, says Asad Umar

Published October 18, 2021
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar on Monday ruled out "immediate relief" in rising commodity prices, saying it could take at least five months for the "abnormal increase" in global prices to head towards normalcy.

Pinning the recent price hike in Pakistan on the international market, the planning minister said this spell was not expected to subside before March 2022.

"We hope people get relief soon, but — according to experts — the relief may not be visible immediately and actual improvement may be seen from March," Umar told a press conference in Islamabad.

Umar said once international commodity prices stabilised and the trend headed towards normalisation, "the government will then be responsible to pass on that relief to the masses."

He said most experts had predicted a decline in commodity prices from March, while a few felt the reduction in prices could take as long as June to take effect.

While stressing that the world is going through an "extraordinary" situation in terms of commodity prices, he said the rates of basic commodities were still lower in Pakistan compared to the rest of the world.

Read more: Widespread condemnation as govt hikes petrol price by Rs10 per litre

The minister, however, admitted that purchasing power of people had been direly affected in Pakistan in view of soaring inflation in recent months.

"The government is now set to roll out targeted subsidies to the masses and this is the best time to take this measure," Umar said.

He said the prime minister would unveil details of the subsidy programme in the next few days, and subsequently, after a month, people would start getting some relief.

He stressed that economies all over the world were shrinking due to which the "production and supply of essential items had been adversely affected and in some cases, was paralysed".

He said economies had reopened after the pandemic with limited availability of products in the market which had resulted in rising prices all over the world.

"This is the reason, not just Pakistan faced an increase in prices, it happened across the world," Umar said.

The planning minister recalled that the government took measures during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and it opened industries in the first phase to keep the economic cycle going.

He said the prices of crude oil, urea and sugar had drastically increased in the international market and Pakistan was feeling its impact.

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s firm stance
Updated 05 Feb, 2023

IMF’s firm stance

Pakistan needs to complete the review to stave off a default as well as to unlock inflows from other multilateral and bilateral lenders.
Grotesque bigotry
05 Feb, 2023

Grotesque bigotry

FREEDOM to profess one’s faith is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan. However, for the country’s Ahmadi...
Kashmir reflections
05 Feb, 2023

Kashmir reflections

ASIDE from Kashmir Day, which the nation is observing today as an official holiday, there are a number of other days...
Crisis conference
Updated 04 Feb, 2023

Crisis conference

PTI's refusal to engage with the govt in such testing times will only be seen as sign of ideological bankruptcy.
Revenge politics
04 Feb, 2023

Revenge politics

A SENSE of déjà-vu prevails as cases pile up against PTI politicians, many of whom, along with their allies and...
Inappropriate remarks
04 Feb, 2023

Inappropriate remarks

OFFICIALS of the state, especially when representing the country at international forums, need to choose their words...