During meeting with senior officials, the prime minister has stressed on taking steps to curb inflation
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday directed his economic team to ensure the budget for fiscal year 2021-22 focused on measures to control inflation, as well as development projects that targeted the needs of the public.
Chairing a meeting to discuss the country’s economic situation, Khan said special attention should be paid to completing development projects that were already in the pipeline. He also stressed that economic growth should be boosted and inflation should be curbed to benefit the common man.
During the meeting, government officials were assured that the upcoming budget would focus on development, especially on increasing the growth rate. Its participants also decided to seek suggestions from senior leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on how best to frame the upcoming budget.
The forum was informed that the next fiscal year was aimed at accelerating ongoing development projects, while launching new ones to boost economic activities, generate employment opportunities, and increase the volume of GDP and revenue. It was also briefed on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, with the participants claiming that the comprehensive policies of the government had ensured the wheel of the national economy kept moving.
In addition to the prime minister, the meeting was attended by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser; federal ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pervaiz Khattak, Shafqat Mahmood, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan; and provincial ministers Hashim Jawan Bakht, Timur Saleem Jhagra and other relevant officials.
The senior-level meeting occurred as the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics announced that average consumer inflation had increased to 11.1 percent in April, against 9.1 percent in March. This is in marked contrast to the Ministry of Finance’s predictions, as it had estimated that inflation would not exceed 9.5 percent in April.
In its monthly Consumer Price Index report, the PBS noted that the 11.1 percent spike was the highest rate of inflation in the past 13 months; it has previously hit 12.4 percent in February 2020. It noted that this was largely a result of high rates for essential commodities, adding that there was little difference in inflation rates for rural and urban areas: in urban areas, April’s inflation rate hit 11 percent, while it remained 11.3 percent in rural settings.
According to the PBS, electricity rates in April 2021 were 29 percent higher than in April 2020. Data shows that almost all edible items have jumped by double digits, including wheat, sugar, and wheat flour. The last month also saw a near-100 percent boost to prices of chickens, as well as a 81 percent boost in prices of tomatoes; 42 percent of eggs; and 27 percent of wheat.
Similarly, cooking oil prices have jumped by 19 percent; sugar by 18 percent; and wheat flour by 17 percent. Core inflation, a value that excludes food and energy, increased by 7 percent in urban areas in April—the highest value it has risen by in the past year.