ISLAMABAD: Inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) increased by 3.38 per cent from the previous week mainly due to highest ever increase in petroleum products prices, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data released on Friday.

The increase in the weekly inflation is the highest since the change of the base year for measuring the SPI. Petrol and diesel prices were raised by Rs84 and Rs115 per litre, respectively, while electricity tariffs were raised by 50pc.

During the week under review, the year-on-year increase in SPI was 27.82pc.

Taking to the social media platform Twitter, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said, “Despite increasing petrol/ diesel prices by Rs84/115 per litre, power/ electricity prices by 50pc, you have not been able to satisfy IMF. Latest economic survey released by your govt validates our strong economic performance, so stop blaming us and improve performance of your govt”.

In another tweet, Mr Tarin said, “Petrol/diesel/electricity price increase so far has impacted households. Don’t know how they will cope with this and forthcoming inflation tsunami.” His post contained a graph for the basic monthly budget of a four-member family which rose to nearly Rs13,000 since March 31, 2022.

In the basket, Mr Tarin mentioned the use of petrol in a motorcycle, the electricity bill, food without meat, school fees, etc. “I am worried about how a poor man in Pakistan will survive in this situation,” he said.

The government has already announced in the budget that it will revive sales tax on petroleum products as well as impose a petroleum development levy in a phased manner.

The government projected a modest inflationary annual target of 11.5pc for FY23 in the budget documents. However, the Federal Board of Revenue, which uses inflation as one of the measures to gather extra tax from consumers, has projected inflation at 12.8pc.

Mr Tarin projected that annual inflation would be in the range of 25pc to 30pc.

Soon after coming into power, the new government disbanded the dedicated National Price Monitoring Committee, which was led by the finance minister, while provinces were represented by provincial chief secretaries. The committee meets every Monday to monitor the prices of essential food commodities.

The PBS data shows that the prices of 36 essential food items increased during the week under review compared to the previous week.

The price of chicken was up 12.10pc, potatoes 6.89pc, cooked daal 5.90pc, pulse gram 5.29pc, cooked beef 5.19pc, vegetable ghee 4.95pc, bread plain 4.37pc, pulse masoor 3.50pc, cooking oil 2.87pc, pulse mash 1.7pc, beef with bone 1.50pc. Other food items like rice, pulses, and milk also saw an increase in their prices.

In the non-food items, the price of high-speed diesel increased 28.91pc, gents sponge chappal 26.76pc, gents sandal 15.40pc, petrol 11.43pc, electricity charges 6.60 pc and cigarettes 6.27pc.

The SPI increased by 2.85pc for the lowest income group (i.e., people earning below Rs17,732 per month) and by 3.10pc for the group with a monthly income of above Rs44,175.

Published in Dawn,June 18th, 2022

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