PIAF calls for steps to ease 12-year record inflation
February 8, 2020 07:47 PM
Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) has urged the government to take concrete measures for easing out inflation that had touched 12 years high level of 14.6 percent in January 2020.
PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, in a joint statement along with senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and vice chairman Javed Iqbal, issued in Lahore on Saturday, said that inflation is on higher side due to the impact of government’s economic policies of soaring fuel rates, enhancing power and gas tariff, depreciating the local currency and imposing exorbitant duties on imported industry raw material.
He asked the Ministry of Finance to devise a strategy to control and ease out the impact of inflation. He said that policy measures like zero borrowing by govt from SBP in current FY and ECC permission for import of 0.3 million tons of wheat would decrease the local wheat price.
Reduction in fiscal deficit, primary surplus H1FY 20; monetary tightening and demand compression by austerity; complete restriction on supplementary grants are positive examples, he added.
Nauman Kabir noted that major factor contributing to higher inflation was the global price impact due to international commodity prices like Palm oil increased by 43.9%, soybean oil by 12.8%, crude oil by 16.6% also pushed up the domestic prices. Downward trajectory in crude oil in the market will result in downward pattern in domestic prices in coming months.
PIAF senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed said that the outcome of stabilization policies, agriculture sector interventions, rigorous monitoring at federal and provincial levels and favourable weather can bring in better results in easing out inflation and sustain the economy towards growth and productivity.
Nasir Hameed said that adverse effects of pre-monsoon rains on wheat crop, disruption of supply chain of essential items, delay in harvest and arrival of crop in the market and lower production of vegetables, including tomato in Sindh, led to a higher food inflation but the change of weather and better supply of potatoes, tomatoes and onions should result in smooth supply and decrease price pressure,” he added.
PIAF vice chairman asked the government to also take relief measures to protect the vulnerable from the price-hike. These measures include provision of subsidy to Utility Stores Corporation on essential items for which Rs7 billion has already been transferred to Ministry of Industries and Production.
Javed Iqbal said that price monitoring cell to check price hikes of essential food items; network of Sasta Bazaars and Utility Store outlets should also be expanded for provision of essential items. He said provincial governments monitoring display of price list and quality of items in open market and Sasta Bazaars and effective measures of CCP to control cartelization and undue profiteering can also control the inflation to some extent.