Like his predecessors, new finance minister Hammad Azhar has ordered a slew of steps aimed at arresting the alarming surge in prices of essential commodities such as wheat flour and sugar. He has, according to media reports, sought details from the provincial food secretaries regarding the prevailing sugar prices and directed strict monitoring of the prices of sugar at retail levels to ensure a steady supply and to counter price disparities.
Dr Hafeez Sheikh et al, too, had taken an identical approach to the challenge of price hike but almost all of them failed to achieve the desired results. One of the reasons behind Hafeez Sheikh’s exit is said to be his failure to control rising inflation, particularly food inflation. A similar fate awaits him because the prices of essential commodities are still showing an upward trend. The late President, Chairman Senate, finance minister and Chairman Planning Commission Ghulam Ishaq Khan was extremely good at market dynamics. One of the reasons behind his better understanding of factors that impact prices and behaviours of producers and consumers was his regular visits to retail and wholesale markets!
Hasan Khan (Peshawar)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021