As COVID-19 has taken its toll on the global economies, the inflation rate in several countries has dropped significantly mainly in the months of March and April, however, citizens in Pakistan are getting no respite as inflation stays high.
According to the Inflation Monitor released by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan witnessed the highest inflation not only in comparison with developed economies but also with emerging economies.
The inflation rate in Pakistan is not the highest as the impression was projected, however, it’s considerable. The impact of reducing petroleum prices and declining demand for various essential commodities and services could translate into lower prices at the retail level.
According to the IMF, during the month of April 2020, inflation in Iran was recorded at 34.2%, in Libya it stood at 22.3%, and 13.4% in Zambia. There are various African countries with a higher inflation rate than Pakistan though these are much smaller economies.
Inflation in Pakistan hit a record high at 14.6% in January but it eased off in the subsequent months to 12.4% in February, 10.20% in March, and 8.50% in April respectively.
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his anger on the stubborn inflation across the country despite passing on the benefits of lower oil prices in the global market to the local market. Inflation on major commodities and services can only be controlled through effective local administration being headed by the provincial government.
The federal government reduced the prices of petroleum products in June as there is no sign of a reduction in retail prices of major commodities and services across the country. There should be coordinated and strict measures taken to reduce the inflation for providing relief to the masses with weakening purchasing power.