Inflation continues to wreak havoc on Pakistan’s fragile economy. During the three years of Imran Khan’s premiership, inflation has broken a 70-year record, with food prices doubling, while the prices of ghee, oil, sugar, flour and poultry have reached historic levels. The Pakistani Rupee plunged more than 20 percent in one year and hit a record low of PKR 175 against the U.S. dollar.
According to a list released by The Economist, Pakistan ranks 4th among the list of most expensive countries in terms of inflation, after Argentina, Turkey, and Brazil. Over the last three years, the country has Pakistan has witnessed slow economic growth, dwindling foreign-exchange reserves, and increasing budget and trade deficits.
According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, between October 2018 and October 2021, “electricity rates increased by 57pc from Rs 4.06 per unit to at least Rs 6.38 per unit. By the first quarter of October, the price of 11.67 kg cylinder of LPG had gone up by 51 per cent from Rs 1,536 to Rs 2,322. Similarly, the price of petrol had gone up by 49 per cent in three years and Rs. The price of petrol has gone up from Rs 93.80 per liter to Rs 138.73 per liter.” The same is true for food items: “The price of ghee increased by 108% to Rs. 356 per kg. The price of sugar increased by 83% in 3 years and the price of sugar sold at Rs. 54 per kg exceeded Rs. 100. Prices of pulses increased by 60 to 76 per cent, mash pulses by Rs 243, peanuts by Rs 162, lentils by Rs 180 per kg and gram pulses by 23 per cent to Rs 145 per kg. The price of 20 kg bag of flour has gone up by 52% to Rs. 1196 in 3 years. The price of flour has gone up by Rs. 20 per kg. The price of chicken remained at Rs 252 per kg from October 2018 to October 2021, however, chicken meat is being sold at Rs 400 per kg in the markets.”
Millions of Pakistanis are finding it difficult to survive with prices of energy, daily commodities, and medicines soaring to unseen levels. However, the Imran Khan government appears unable to unwilling to focus on the economy and alleviate the sufferings of its people.