THE government has added to the inflationary pressure on an economy already battered by these pressures as a result of the monsoon floods, by allowing a massive increase in oil prices. Because it allowed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority to increase fuel prices, the government ensured that the inflationary ripples are felt throughout the economy, which will be forced to absorb these along with the scheduled increase in electricity prices. The increases in oil prices will cause an inflation both directly (such as in the increase in benchmark petrol fuel prices from Rs 66.99 per litre to Rs 72.96) and indirectly, because the increase in diesel from Rs 62.34 per litre to Rs 66.61, will increase transport costs, both of goods (by truck) and of people (in public transport, both intercity and intracity). Even people going to work will have to pay more to do so, after transporters too raise their rates.
Agricultural products will have their prices raised not just because of transport costs, but also because diesel is used to fuel the tubewells through which the crops are irrigated. Already burdened heavily, the people of Pakistan will be further burdened because of this increase. The inflation in the economy can only be understood if the government simply does not care about the people, and how they make ends meet.
It is therefore not simply out of a desire to exploit an issue that PML(N) Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has warned of the possibility of his party carrying out a Long March on the issue, but because the issue is very much out there, and only the ruling party dare ignore it, because it bears the responsibility.The root of the problem is the government’s desire to continue with two essentially incompatible goals. First, to continue with the corruption it is practising, and, second, to carry on with its free-spending ways and avoid any financial discipline. Neither involves serving the people, which is the true purpose of any government, and additionally, they stop the government from carrying out that saving which is the only solution to inflation. The government is too deeply committed to repaying the lending agencies, notably the IMF, and letting them formulate policies for Pakistan, instead of forming them itself in the interest of the country – Nation