In the face of an escalating economic crisis, the price of basic commodities continues to soar in Lahore, the second-largest city in Pakistan. Reports indicate that a dozen eggs now costs a staggering 400 Pakistani Rupees (PKR), while chicken is being sold at PKR 615 per kilogram, leaving residents grappling with the burden of rising living costs.
Local authorities have struggled to enforce government rate lists, contributing to the unchecked surge in prices across various essential items. Onions, a staple in Pakistani households, are being sold at prices ranging from 230 to 250 PKR per kilogram, significantly surpassing the government-fixed rate of PKR 175 per kilogram.
The economic turmoil has prompted concerns among citizens and policymakers alike, as efforts to stabilize prices have fallen short. Despite the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) directives to the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) to coordinate with provincial governments and address issues of hoarding and profiteering, the situation remains dire.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs, Shamshad Akhtar, presided over a recent ECC meeting, emphasizing the need for measures to ensure price stability. However, these efforts have yet to yield tangible results, as prices continue to spiral out of control.
Adding to the economic woes, Pakistan’s total debt burden has reached a staggering 63,399 trillion PKR by the end of November in the financial year 2023-24, according to a report by ARY News. The debt has increased by over 12.430 trillion PKR during the tenure of both the PDM and the caretaker government, with domestic loans accounting for PKR 40.956 trillion and international loans reaching PKR 22.434 trillion.
A recent World Bank report further highlights the challenges facing Pakistan’s economy, noting that economic development is limited to the elite. World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, emphasized that the current economic model has become “ineffective,” leading to a resurgence in poverty. Benhassine warned that a significant reduction in poverty achieved in the past is now being reversed, signaling the urgent need for a policy change to ensure sustainable economic development.
As the cost of living continues to climb and the debt burden escalates, citizens and policymakers are faced with the pressing challenge of finding comprehensive solutions to stabilize the economy and alleviate the financial strain on the nation.
Sources By Agencies