FUEL and power rates, along with food prices are escalating at an alarming pace, the rupee is losing its value and deals with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have seldom done price stability any favours in Pakistan.
Ominously, despite public outcry, the government seems to be in the denial mode. Its chosen narrative — that the prices are still among the lowest in the world — is doing no one any good. If anything, it is seen as an attempt at hoodwinking the people because the argument is lopsided and overlooks all other relevant and critical considerations.
The recent report by The Economist which ranked Pakistan 4th on the list of countries with the highest inflation rate in the world, was no eye-opener, as the masses have already been roaming around the markets as wide-eyed zombies not knowing what has hit them.
One waited with bated breath to see if those in the corridors of power would finally concede their failure to stem the tide of negativity, and might start looking to find a way forward, but all we have heard is the repetition of the same argument; that the prices are still among the lowest in the world. No, please, no. They are not.
Please consider the differences in terms of income levels, purchasing power, accessibility to sources of finance, progressive taxations, state provision of basic needs, low unemployment rates and low poverty levels in the other countries with which we are made to compare our price of, say, petrol.
All said and done, instead of trying to camouflage what is already obvious, the government should formulate a roadmap to do away with the menace of inflation.
Ashraf Ahmed Shah
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2021