Islamabad: Appalled by the second surprise hike in petroleum product prices in just under ten days, the common people fear another wave of inflation that will shake their monthly budget in the coming days as they are not receiving any sort of compensation in the event of inflation compressing their already meager incomes.
Muhammad Ayub, a laborer sitting at his workstation in Fawara Chowk on Friday with frustration and anger written all over his face, broke down as he recounted his ordeal. “I barely earn Rs 900 a day and for two days I have been out of work. The prices of kitchen items have increased alarmingly in the last week, and now the new increase will further inflate my budget. How can I manage my family’s expenses with rising fuel prices when everything is directly or indirectly impacted by them,” he lamented.
Already shaken by the rise in POL prices last week, when asked if their contractors had raised their wages to some extent as an offset for inflation, Muhammad Ayub scoffed. “What kind of raise, we never get any compensation from our contractor. I have never heard of such a thing.
Another worker, Deen Muhammad, who was waiting for work along Bagh Sardaran Road, burst into anger saying what kind of miserable life we have now. “I earn Rs1000 per day, but I couldn’t work every day. My whole family have been taking free food from hotels in Jamia Masjid Road for several days. But this new increase will make it difficult for me because we live in a rented house and our landlord is demanding a rent increase citing the new wave of inflation,” he added.
Chief Representative of All Pakistan Truck and Containers Association, Mujahid Khan, said freight service charges have a direct impact on the cost of products. Previously, the fuel tank of a tank truck was filled with Rs 8,000-8,500 fuel, but now the new price hike has brought its cost to Rs 10,300. This cost difference was added to the rate of tariffs which was increased by 30% and the public will have to face the burden, he denounced.
When asked if they received any inflationary compensation, Mujahid Khan sometimes replied. But in the last two cases, there was no increase in our salary. “Our staff receives the same salary and it will become difficult for me to manage my family expenses,” he said.
While, Yasmeen Fatima, selling ‘ojri’ at Raja Bazaar, said inflation has driven people like her crazy, what will become of us, she asked.
When asked if she had raised the prices of a plate of ‘ojri’, she replied that it was a difficult decision for her, but necessary. “Yes I have. I used to sell a plate of ‘ojri’ at Rs100, but now I sell it at Rs120. So she tried to compensate herself to some extent, but feared that another rise in inflation also affects his business.
On the other hand, the Chairman of All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Haji Muhammad Irshad, said that the policies of the previous government had ruined the country. The incumbent government should not clarify the fact that the non-materialization of the agreement between Russia and Pakistan for the supply of cheap oil was one of the main reasons for the Pakistani oil crisis. It’s past, history, we have to think about the future, because with the current salaries, it is quite difficult for everyone to have a decent life. The government should announce the type of compensation it will provide to the public. “We hope that the government will increase the salaries of government employees by 100% in the next budget for the financial year 2022-2023.
Similar was the request of Reehan Ahmad, a private company worker, who said that every time the price of petroleum products increases, their budget gets tighter. “We never receive inflationary compensation from our organization,” he added. What sort of compensation private companies will give their workers was the question posed by Reehan.