Amid the deepening economic crisis, the weekly inflation in Pakistan rose to over 40 percent for the first time in over five months with the consumer prices of onions, chicken, eggs, rice, cigarettes and fuel rising significantly.
According to a report in the Dawn, despite the week-on-week inflation easing slightly, it still remained high as bananas, chicken, sugar, cooking oil, gas and cigarettes became costlier.
The report said that as a result, short-term inflation jumped to 41.54 percent on a year-on-year basis for the week ended on Feb 23, rising from 38.42 per cent in the previous week.
The prices of onions, chicken, eggs, cigarettes, and fuel also saw record rise. The hike in the prices was the highest annual rise since the week ending September 8 last year.
Out of 51 items studied, the prices of 33 items increased while the price of six items decreased. Prices of 12 items remained stable.
The biggest change was registered in the price of the gas (108 percent), cigarettes (76.4 percent), bananas (6.6 percent), chicken (5.2 percent), sugar (3.37 percent), cooking oil (0.7 percent) and other items.
Pakistan’s finances have been wrecked by years of financial mismanagement and political instability – a situation exacerbated by a global energy crisis and devastating floods that left a third of the country under water last year.
The South Asian country is deeply in debt, and needs to introduce tough tax and utility price increases to unlock another tranche of a $6.5 billion International Monetary Fund bailout and avoid defaulting.
This week the government raised taxes on luxury imports and services – saying only the rich elite would be affected. However, it also slashed fuel subsidies and increased a general sales tax, both of which will hit low-income families.