One third of the most awaited holy month of Ramadan has already passed. Muslims are cherishing Ramadan and so are the profiteers at marketplace in Pakistan. While surfing on social media, I came across some non Muslim countries supermarkets photos, proudly offering special Ramadan discounts on basic commodities. I felt great for the Muslim community abroad, but the very next moment what I felt was pity for our nation. The escalating prices of fast-moving consumer goods can be witnessed by anyone out there.
I firmly perceive Ramadan as the only month that congregates all the Muslims on the same page, irrespective of nationality and ethnicity. But, the approach of the Pakistan’s vendors towards the blessed month of Ramadan is vastly contrary compared to rest of the world.
Abrupt increase in the prices of goods and services is described as a price hike.“The price hike before and during the sacred month of Ramadan has become a hallmark of Pakistani society.” The month of Ramadan is perceived as a month of “revenue maximization” by hoarders, and profiteers! It seems that they have forgotten the true essence of Ramadan.
Despite being an Islamic republic, they are overcharging for indispensable commodities including fruits, vegetables, gram flour, dates, sugar, meat, poultry, wheat, rice and pulses is rampant in the glorious month of Ramadan. The rate lists issued by the local government is barely followed by sellers.
At one hand we have remarkable number of organizations and philanthropists – actively indulged in dispensing free of cost meals and drinks to the necessitous for Sehri and Iftari. They are worth appraising. Whereas on the other hand, every year in Ramadan, traders hunt for illegitimate and unethical profit margins by selling products on high prices that evidently flout fixed prices set by the government.
There are many reasons of a price shoot up in Ramadan. The implicit rising demand of kitchen supplies grounds their price hike. As there is no consistent price mechanism so shopkeepers are habitual to charge as per their will irrespective of ample supply of products. Similarly, the act of black marketing and hoardings engender an artificial shortage of essential commodities and thus traders justify and bring into action the fabricated price hike.
Last month, government announced Ramadan subsidy, and assured the availability of low priced food supplies throughout Ramadan, by employing fair price shops Sasta Ramadan Bazaars and utility stores. But, in spite of all the promises and claims to mainstream the price hike in Ramadan, government fails to control elevated prices and take enduring actions against extortionist and hoarders as well.
Fair price shops are not much handy in mitigating the public. I have personally shopped from – and I can easily point out some Ramadan bazaars out there that sale out cheap and substandard products. Either, the quality of the perishable products is not up to the mark or the commodities are sold out.
Don’t you think that the soaring prices of food items are enough to upset the low-budget class? The fact of the matter is that most of the Pakistani’s are forced to pay unjustified excessive prices for kitchen supplies during Ramadan as they have no other substitute. It amplifies the burden on the common man who is already hand to mouth and thus making the essential items not pocket friendly for them.
Throughout the country, the present situation of food markets is posing serious financial misery to the deprived ones instead of any relief.
Complaints of price hike are observed in all prominent cities of the country as well as countryside. For instance before Ramadan golden apple was Rs. 120 per kg and now out at Rs. 250-300 per kg along with all other fruits. Likewise, the prices of potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, lemons have also literally doubled within few days.
Hasty and regular raids by designated government official at “Sunday Bazaars” and “Sasta Ramadan Bazaars” can serve the purpose. The real task is to scrutinize the fixed prices of commodities set by the government as well as steady accessibility of all desired commodities at marketplace during the blissful month of Ramadan.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.