The deadly inflation

The incumbent is the first to be appointed on the heels of a constitutional amendment empowering the central bank

August 22, 2022

Price hike is now in killing proportions. Inflation is ballooning day in and day out, and presently stands at a horrifying 42.3% on a year-on-year basis this weekend. The SPI is skyrocketing as per data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. This is quite a worrisome equation and goes on to stress that the economy is in the doldrums, and microeconomic management is a complete collapse. The fact that prices of essential commodities are in a free-rise and there is no check and balance under the litmus of demand and supply paints a gruesome reality. Needless to mention that the governmental writ is missing, and market mechanism is fleecing the masses at impunity.

A 4% rise in SPI, from 38.63% to 42.3%, within a fortnight is alarming. If the trend continues, Pakistan will be among the sinking economies where inflation has taken a toll and pushed it to the verge of bankruptcy. What is needed is some smart tailoring from the government to stringently regulate the prices, and keep them within purchasing power. Raw eatables and finished products must go through a compulsive price scanner at the markets, and this entails an honest administration — an aspect that is unfortunately lacking in our midst. While the government purports subsidies to the downtrodden, its actual implementation down the lane has always been questionable, laden with corrupt practices.

The SBP governor’s formal appointment after a hiatus of four months, likewise, should come to bail out the ad hoc decision-making process. The incumbent is the first to be appointed on the heels of a constitutional amendment empowering the central bank, and it is high time for him to manage the intricacies of exchange and interest rates, as well as the scourge of inflation. Addressing oil and energy prices sitting at an illogical parameters is a must, and the economic gurus should take the comfort level of masses too on board as they go on to appease the donors. No economy can function if the end-users are in a state of unrest with a miserable purse in hand.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2022.

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