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Inflation Drops Slightly but Remains a Major Burden on Pakistanis

Unlike the developed countries that have supported their people, Pakistan’s poor economic and political conditions have exacerbated the plight of its citizens.
by Naheed Jehangir - 20 May, 2024 1024
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According to official data, inflation in Pakistan has decreased by 1.6%, bringing the rate down to 21.22%. Post-COVID-19, while economic conditions have deteriorated worldwide, Pakistan has been particularly hard hit. Unlike the developed countries that have supported their people, Pakistan’s poor economic and political conditions have exacerbated the plight of its citizens. Inflation has severely impacted the poor, compounded by corruption and political instability.

An elderly woman shopping for groceries commented on the situation, saying that even minor price reductions by the government don't make a difference. She criticized the government for giving minimal relief after substantial price hikes, particularly highlighting the skyrocketing electricity costs that leave the poor with the choice of stealing power or going without it.

The Institute of Statistics’ weekly report shows a continuous decline in inflation rates. Over a week, the rate dropped by 1.06%, bringing the annual inflation rate to 21.2%. The report noted price decreases for 16 essential commodities, including flour, tomatoes, onions, garlic, rice, red chili, lentils, petrol, and diesel. However, the prices of 20 other essential items, such as potatoes, eggs, meat, pigeon peas, and chicken, increased, while 15 items remained stable.

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Naveed, a general store owner in Peshawar, shared his experience of unprecedented inflation. Having run his store for over 15 years, he stated that he has never seen such high inflation. Each time he restocks, he pays more than before, with prices now fluctuating daily instead of yearly or biannually. He noted that customers, initially angry, have now become resigned to the rising costs. The dwindling capital means he can now buy only a fraction of the items he used to, severely affecting his business.

It’s worth noting that last April, the inflation rate was 13.37%, rising to 13.76% in May and 21.32% in June. This year, inflation had surged past 23% but has now slightly decreased to 21.22%. Economists compare this inflation rate to those in 2008 and 1974, noting that it is still double the average monthly earnings of a common man. The depreciation of the rupee and the increasing value of the dollar in the global market are likely to further escalate the inflation rate, making it increasingly difficult for even the middle class to afford basic necessities.