Islamabad, November 3rd, 2021: Addressing the relief package announced by the government, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “The Blame Minister of Pakistan has given a bizarre speech where he said that all unprecedented inflation, tsunami of oil, gas prices, essentials is because of the past governments and international markets. Maybe he has forgotten that PPP faced higher global oil prices over 130 $ per barrel but local petrol was still half of today prices and the PKR still stood strong, while exports were the highest ever and wheat imports were no longer needed. The PM is clearly living in a parallel universe where he cannot see the pain inflected on the people of Pakistan by the prices that are rising by every other day and are becoming completely unsustainable for the whole country and not just the 2 crore people”.
“It’s ironic how the biggest welfare package in Pakistan’s history is targeted for 2 crore people when in fact the entire 24 crore population of this country needs relief. Inflation in the country can not be controlled by giving interviews or doing talk shows. The PM has taken notice of the spiralling inflation at least 17 times but not even once has he shared an action plan. A solid economic recovery plan is the need of the hour”.
“If inflation was to controlled through giving subsides then sugar would not be sold for Rs120 per kg. It is easy to blame others to hide your own incompetence and this is something this government has been doing since they came in power. First it was the opposition, then it was the international market; is the high price of sugar also because of the fluctuations in the international markets? The prime minister must be talking about Banigala’s prosperity because life in this Naya Pakistan has become extremely difficult for people,” she said.
“In the last three years of the PTI government, the PKR has devalued by 43% against the USD, in 2018 it was at 123 and last month it reached 175.50. When the government can’t scapegoat the opposition, they blame international commodity prices or COVID. PTI government cites oil prices to justify the devaluation of the PKR but International Oil prices were extremely high in the world during PPP’s time yet domestic oil prices were affordable. If we could manage, then why can’t this government? Why has PKR devalued by 14% since May?
In fact, the entire government should apologize to people for the economic crisis and inflation that they have created in the country”.
Rehman said, “The government is admitting itself that inflation is increasing. All past records of inflation have been broken which is now at 9.2% while prices of staple food items have become unaffordable for people. The current account deficit was at $3.4 billion (4.1% of the GDP) in the first quarter of FY22, whereas around the same time last year there was a surplus of $865 million. On the other hand, according to PBS our trade deficit widened by 117.22% on year-on-year basis and stood at $3.886 billion in October 2021, compared to $1.789 billion in October 2020”.
“If we compare our situation with other countries like India and Bangladesh, Pakistan’s economic indicators are the worst in the entire region. The economy is on the ventilator and unfortunately this is the least of this government’s concerns,” concluded Vice President PPP, Senator Sherry Rehman.