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Pak blames price hike on trade ban with India, weather

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Review meeting by Pakistan PM after IAF strikes across LoCIslamabad, Dec 4 (IANS) The economic advisory team of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the suspension of trade ties with India was one among the reasons responsible for the prevailing price rise in the country.

Attributing the price hike to suspension of trade with India, the failure of provinces in keeping administrative control over middlemen and seasonal factors, the government’s economic team has forecast easing of the inflationary pressure in the next two months, Dawn news reported.

Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar said after a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday that the prevailing price hike, particularly the food inflation, emanated from suspension of trade with India and seasonal factors and the role of middlemen. He said the centre was taking up the matter with the provincial governments for setting up “Sasta Bazaars” and effective use of the magistracy system to ensure relief to the public. He said inflation would start going down from January-February.

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He said the economy could not be transformed from a default or crisis situation to growth mode in a short period, but the gains made so far were now enough to solidify them into higher growth for job creation in the next phase beginning in a couple of months.

Imran Khan’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said some price factors like international oil and energy prices were beyond the government’s control, but then it was ensuring enough safeguards through subsidy, income support programme, health insurance and cheaper availability of essential items to ensure vulnerable segments remain protected from price hike.

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He said international agencies like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Moody’s rating agency were appreciating the positive signs in Pakistan’s economy achieved through effective reforms and improvements in external and fiscal accounts. Exports were now rising after five years, the current account deficit was declining, the fiscal deficit had been controlled and the primary deficit turned into surplus, he added.

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