The Tsunami of price hike- medicines, electricity and food items become expensive

PTI government simply lost control over prices, people are suffering as the result

The people of Pakistan are experiencing a tsunami of price hike in the country. The prices of food, medicines, utilities, and daily use products are continue to rise. The government has simply lost the control over prices. The people are suffering as the result of this failure.

The three decisions of the PTI government to increase the prices of nearly 100 medicines, food items at utility stores and electricity will increase burden on already struggling people of Pakistan. The increase in the price of electricity will have wider impact on the prices of products. It will increase the cost of business and production. The PTI government came into power with the promise to fix the economy and to reform the system.    

The federal government has approved a hike as high as 262% in the prices of nearly 100 local and imported medicines in Pakistan. Among these are 68 local medicines and 26 imported ones.

Drugs that became costlier included those used to treat fever, headache, heart diseases, malaria, diabetes, sore throat, flu, abdominal and stomach pains, skin diseases, postpartum issues, and eye, ear, tooth, mouth, and blood infections, as well as certain antibiotics.

The matter of fact is that this increase has made medicines so expensive that vast majority of people cannot afford it. The government policy and decision makers must understand that nearly 60% of Pakistani population lives below or around the poverty line. They are not in the position to buy medicines and even food items.

Nepra has approved a raise of Rs1.62 per unit in power tariff on account of fuel adjustment cost for the second and third quarters of Financial Year 2019-20. This places an additional cost of Rs168 billion or a little more on consumers.

The decision to increase the prices of some food items at utility stores will increase the burden on already impoverished masses. Mostly poor and lower middle class people use the subsidised products like cooking oil, sugar and pulses from utility stores. Now there is hardly any difference left between the prices at utility stores and markets.

There are serious repercussions to these decisions. The burdens of households already stretched to the very limit, will be stretched further, some may break leaving very little for families in terms of buying food items, or sending children to school.

There has also been an increase in the cost of cooking oil by Rs 17 per litre, as well as of ghee and an extra Rs5 per litre will be added to the price of milk. This is a tremendous burden on most households throughout the country. There is no real explanation from the federal government or any other source on quite how people are to manage. They are barely managing at this point already, with an exorbitant increase also in the price of life-saving drugs. Once again, it is the people who will suffer.

The reality is that more and more families are already struggling to even send their children to school. This is an unacceptable situation. It is also obviously essential for every family to buy oil, or ghee with which to cook – or medicines to save their lives.

The government is not considering the negative impact of coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis on the lives of people. There are more unemployed people in the country due to the job losses. The poverty is on the rise. The real incomes are falling while cost of living continues to rise.

Instead of helping the unemployed and impoverished people in the times of need, the government is burdening them further as the result of its economic decisions and policies.

These are not items that can be left off the list. The solutions for these households simply do not seem to be there at all. Everything costs more now. Sugar has gone up from Rs 50 per kilogram to Rs 100; flour was Rs 35 per kilo two years ago now selling at Rs 75 now. The prices of milk have gone over Rs 100 per liter while prices of vegetables and lentils have also one up considerably.

These are just flour, lentils and rice that we are unable to afford. Having mutton at Rs1, 100 per kg, beef at Rs 680/kg and chicken at Rs 200/kg is simply unthinkable. It is just the common people who are being punished for the failures of rulers. The people are being crushed. The life is getting more and more difficult and miserable.

                                                                    The Editor  

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