Post-budget inflation grips Rawalpindi

Unabated hoarding deepens crisis, consumers call for action

Qaiser Shirazi June 22, 2024


The announcement of the fresh federal and Punjab budgets for the fiscal year 2024-25 has triggered a significant rise in the prices of essential food items in the open market. Prices of pulses, gram flour, and rice have reached historic highs, marking the highest levels in the country's history.

Even before the implementation of the proposed new taxes, negative impacts are already being observed in wholesale markets.

In many markets, the prices of essential food items have skyrocketed. Pulses and chickpeas have surged to Rs13,000 per maund and gram flour to Rs12,800 per maund

In retail markets, pulses are selling at Rs340 per kg, besan at Rs335 per kg, and split chickpeas at Rs565 per kg.

The recent budget announcement, which increases the general sales tax from 15 per cent to 18%, has led to widespread stockpiling of essential food items. The new tax rate is set to take effect on July 1, and this hoarding has caused a record increase in the prices of all grocery items. Furthermore, the Gawala Union has warned of a price hike in milk and dairy products after Eid, while the Meat Welfare Union has also threatened to increase the prices of meat.

Pervaiz Butt, leader of the Central Grocery Association, has urged the deputy commissioner to convene a meeting of the District Price Control Committee after Eid to reassess and determine new prices for all essential items in light of the current market situation. Meanwhile, a decision has been made to increase the prices of roti, naan, and paratha after Eid.

The unprecedented rise in prices has created a sense of urgency among consumers, who are now facing the brunt of the economic changes. The increase in the general sales tax is expected to further strain the budgets of ordinary citizens, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

This situation is exacerbated by the hoarding practices of traders anticipating the higher tax rates, which has pushed prices to record highs. The DC office has yet to respond to the call for a meeting by the Central Grocery Association. However, it is anticipated that such a meeting will be crucial in addressing the rampant price hikes and ensuring measures to stabilise the market. The role of the District Price Control Committee will be vital in monitoring and regulating the prices of essential commodities to prevent further exploitation of consumers.



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