It is generally known that affordability issues in buying essential items lead to rise in street crime. Pakistan is witnessing massive surge in prices of essential items over the period of last few months with the rise in prices of commodities in both international and domestic markets.
The new coalition government by PML-N in a span of one week increased the prices of petroleum products twice. The rise in both the announcements was phenomenal. The government increased the price of petrol, which is commonly used for all motor vehicles, especially motorcycles in large number.
The government firstly increased the prices of petroleum products by Rs30 per liter each on May 26, 2022. The second announcement came on June 02, 2022, which further increased the prices of POL products by Rs30 per liter on each product.
Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday June 3, 2022, issued weekly data of Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended June 02, 2022. The SPI calculates difference in prices of essential items. The SPI shows a record increase in inflation by 2 per cent on weekly basis and 20.04 per cent on year on year (YoY) basis.
This inflation reflects only the increase in petroleum prices that were effective from May 27, 2022. The remaining impact on inflation after the second announcement of POL price increase will reflect on inflation data of next week ended June 09, 2022.
The previous government maintained the petrol prices at huge subsidized rates to facilitate the citizens. As though the new government still kept the same subsidy on petrol till May 26, 2021.
However, on account of pressure by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government has to forcibly increase petrol prices to persuade the IMF to release the next tranche of $1 billion.
The current increase of petrol prices in the international market has left no option for the government to minimize the prices. Therefore, the government decided to increase petrol prices and keep the petroleum levy and sales tax at zero percent.
The prices of petroleum products from June 03, 2022 shall be: Petrol at Rs209.86 per; High Speed Diesel at Rs204.15 per liter; kerosene oil at Rs181.94 per liter; and light diesel oil at Rs178.31 per liter.
The people are not mentally prepared for this price hike and are displaying huge disappointment with the new government. The people are also opposing the new government because of making such a harsh decision.
The increase in the petrol prices simply indicates the increase in prices of all the basic and other commodities. It is because the hike in POL prices reflects the transportation prices. Thus results in price hike in the other commodities too.
The citizens predict that in future there will be street crimes on a huge scale because of this inflation. The local citizens will always be unsafe while outside. The people also blame the new government for the increase in the POL prices as they do not have the potential to control the government.
(By Syed Faisal Shahnawaz: The writer is a student of Upper Cambridge at St. Patrick’s High School, Karachi. He is regular contributor at PkRevenue.com)