ISLAMABAD: Inflation as measured by the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) rose by 3.38% from the previous week, mainly due to the largest increase ever in the prices of petroleum products, according to data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Friday.
The increase in weekly inflation is the highest since the change of base year to measure the SPI. Petrol and diesel prices were increased by Rs84 and Rs115 per litre, respectively, while electricity tariffs were increased by 50pc.
During the week under review, the year-over-year increase in the SPI was 27.82%.
Speaking to social media platform Twitter, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said: “Despite the increase in petrol/diesel prices by Rs84/115 per litre, fuel prices electricity/electricity by 50%, you have not been able to satisfy the IMF. The latest economic survey released by your government validates our strong economic performance, so stop blaming us and improve your government’s performance.”
In another tweet, Mr Tarin said: “The increase in petrol/diesel/electricity prices so far has had an impact on households. I don’t know how they are going to deal with this tsunami of inflation and coming. His post contained a chart of the basic monthly budget of a family of four which has risen to almost Rs 13,000 since March 31, 2022.
In the basket, Mr. Tarin mentioned the use of gasoline in a motorbike, the electricity bill, meatless food, school fees, etc. “I am worried how a poor man in Pakistan is going to survive in this situation,” he said.
The government has already announced in the budget that it will reinstate the sales tax on petroleum products and that it will impose a petroleum development tax on a phased basis.
The government projected a modest annual inflation target of 11.5% for FY23 in budget documents. However, the Federal Board of Revenue, which uses inflation as one of the measures to collect additional taxes from consumers, has forecast inflation of 12.8%.
Mr. Tarin predicted that annual inflation would be around 25% to 30%.
Shortly after coming to power, the new government dissolved the National Price Monitoring Committee, which was headed by the Minister of Finance, while the provinces were represented by Provincial Chief Secretaries. The committee meets every Monday to monitor the prices of essential foodstuffs.
PBS data shows that prices of 36 essential food items rose in the week under review compared to the previous week.
The price of chicken increased by 12.10pc, potatoes 6.89pc, cooked daal 5.90pc, gram pulses 5.29pc, cooked beef 5.19pc, vegetable ghee 4 .95pc, plain bread 4.37pc, masoor 3.50pc, cooking oil 2.87pc, mashed legumes 1.7pc, beef with bone 1.50pc. Other food products such as rice, pulses and milk have also seen their prices increase.
In non-food items, the price of high-speed diesel increased by 28.91pc, that of men’s sponge by 26.76pc, that of men’s sandal by 15.40pc, that of gasoline 11.43 pc, that of electricity 6.60 pc and that of cigarettes 6.27 pc.
The SPI increased by 2.85 pc for the lowest income group (i.e. people earning less than Rs 17,732 per month) and by 3.10 pc for the group whose monthly income is greater than 44,175 rupees.
Posted in Dawn, June 18, 2022