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Rising cost of living

Nadeem Moulvi

The writer is a business analyst.

An increase in electricity prices has a direct effect on the cost of living. A major chunk of our income goes to major household expenses and paying electricity bills. This rise in power tariffs also increases the cost of production for shop owners, factories and other businesses which also affects us. The government claims that the ‘economy is on the right track’ and we are heading in the right direction. These statements are beyond comprehension as the government has regularly increased the price of electricity.

The price of gas is also rising not to mention the shortages we have endured in winters and recent months. The cost of cooking food at home has increased along with our kitchen bills. The common man is also impacted as the price of Tandoor Naan is rising and a basic meal is now getting beyond the reach of the poor. The naan sellers say they cannot reduce price and have blamed not receiving proper gas supply and the rising cost of production.

Life goes on but we cannot move without transport. The rates of petrol are exorbitantly high which affects our daily life whether we have to go to work or send our children to school. A major portion of our salary is consumed by the fuel cost. The government increased the price of petrol three times last month. Farmers are selling their produce at lower but transport charges make the products expensive when they reach the market and are eventually consumed by us.

Businessmen maintain that the price of products increases manifold due to the high transport costs. They get more expensive when they reach shop shelves and are even unable to increase exports.

The only excuse the government has the price of oil is increasing in the international market. The policymakers have to increase storage capacity or take any strategic decisions but still make lofty claims that the economy is headed in the right direction.

The economists say that things are getting expensive as the previous government left us with fewer funds but we are witnessing economic stability. In universities, we are taught that an economist is a person to plans according to the available resources. The people want a remedy for their economic woes but our economists are making flimsy excuses and not really working in developing the nation.

The government has boasted about the rise in exports for the past several months despite the pandemic. This is true but only a short term reprieve as Indian and Malaysian exports have slumped due and the trade war between China and the USA escalated, giving us an opportunity on which we capitalised. But what will happen when COVID-19 is under control in all countries and we will return to the earliest situation with a trade deficit.

Our country cannot develop without any economic plan. Our economists should not be political workers to appease their party but rather social scientists who forecast demand and supply and make policies. They should work to develop the nation and fulfill the basic needs of people.