Who will check price hike?
T HOUGH the government data puts the inflation rate below four percent yet the most used edibles especially pulses, ghee and chicken have been registering sharp increase over the last few months and the consumers are rightly fearing that the prices will go further up as the holy month of Ramadan approaches - the time when commodity dealers miss no opportunity to rob the pockets of common man through different tactics including creating artificial shortage of commodities to get maximum price of their products.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while taking notice of the alarming situation, especially vis-à-vis the prices of pulses, directed the concerned authorities on Monday to take steps to bring the prices at affordable and appropriate level. It is worth mentioning here that due to shortage of gram pulse, sufficient quantity of the commodity was imported to bring stability in its prices but that is yet to be seen as the poor man’s staple diet continues the upward momentum without any check. The same trend is being witnessed in the prices of other food items including poultry and floor while the price of ghee has also soared by Rs 30 in the last one week. Despite grant of concessions to the poultry sector such as withdrawal of additional sales tax and exemption of withholding tax, the prices of chicken have increased manifold. This entire scenario is disturbing for the low income groups and adding to their woes. There is a National Price Monitoring Committee under the supervision of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to keep an eye on the prices of commodities but it appears that things are beyond their control as meetings are held and the relevant officials also present their reports but nothing concrete is done on the ground to save the hapless consumers from the cruel hands of profiteers and hoarders. Apart from focusing on politics and the issue of terrorism, the government is duty bound to focus towards ensuring good governance and addressing the plight of common man. We, therefore, will urge the government to evolve such an elaborate and effective mechanism that not only ensures sufficient supply of essential items in the markets but also saves the consumers from the excesses of commodity dealers.