Pakistan: 32pc inflation breaks 30-year-old record

ISLAMABAD – Higher energy and food prices have pushed inflation over 32 per cent, the highest in the last 30 years, as both the government and businessmen have started passing on the bulk to consumers.
Federal Bureau of Statistics on Friday reported that inflation for all the income groups, ranging from Rs 3,000 per month income to above Rs 12,000, increased by 32.3 per cent during the week ended on July 24 over the same period of the last year.
The prices of goods and services in one week surged by 1.7 per cent, said the FBS. The highest increase in one week, 2.6 per cent, was for the highest income group due to increase in the prices of petroleum products. During the last five months, the government has increased the prices of petroleum products by seven times.
According to the official figures, the prices of diesel, petrol and kerosene oil, a poor man product, have been increased by 70 per cent, 61 per cent and 80 per cent respectively since July 2007.
The consumers have started feeling the pinch of high food prices. The FBS figures based on Sensitive Price Indicator, a weekly barometer to determine prices of essential items, showed an increase in the prices of 29 most essential kitchen items.
Riaz Malik, an owner of a super store in Islamabad, says though he has passed on the high prices on consumers, even then his profit has declined. He says due to unusual high prices of the commodities, the customers are unable to buy them and thus the traders are compelled to reduce their profit margin.
“Here prices of the goods are changing after every 24 hours and we cannot face customers, who treat us as we are responsible for inflation,” says Tariq Ahmad who runs a grocery shop.

Source: The Nation, 26/7/2008

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