Who will check price hike?

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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