The rising prices of edible commodities before Ramazan have left people, especially those belonging to low-income groups, at wit’s end.
“The sellers have already started fleecing the consumers and increased the prices from 10 to 20 per cent well before Ramazan,” said Amir Ahmed, a government employee, in the weekly bazaar of H-8. “Ramazan is a blessing for Muslims, but some people are using this holy month for profiteering and exploiting the high demand of edible goods,” he added.
The subsidized bazaars set up by the government are “useless” because they are few in number and are not easily to access, he said.
Salima Bano, who was purchasing groceries at the market, said that it is a common practice to sell products at inflated prices during Ramazan. She added those who make policies do not care for the poor, as they don’t know the real situation in the market.
According to a recent report published by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in July, the prices of 25 commodities including
poultry products, meat, vegetables, cooking oil, kitchen fuel and some pulses and fruits registered an average increase of 13 per cent; in contrast, 17 commodities registered an average decrease of 4 per cent, which is too meagre to offset the sharp increase in the price of important consumer items ahead of Ramazan.
FAFEN monitors collected prices of 46 commodities on July 10 from designated retail outlets in 145 towns in 77 districts across the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory and compared them against prices in June.
The price of tomatoes increased the most, up a whopping 157% from a month ago (from Rs22 to Rs56 per kg). Potatoes registered a price hike of 18%.
Wheat flour registered a 2% price increase; the price of chicken meat increased by 18 per cent, while live chicken registered an increase of 15% and eggs 13%. Mutton and beef each registered an increase of 3% in their prices.
Mustard and cooking oil registered an increase of 4 and 1% respectively.
In kitchen fuels, LPG’s price increased by 12%, whereas the price of firewood decreased
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.