Over the last few years, economic conditions of the people have gone from bad to worse, despite continuous economic growth. The government recently achieved the highest annual growth rate in a decade but this achievement has been overshadowed by the fact that more than 50% of the people in Pakistan are still living below the poverty line.
Inflation and economic growth, according to the government, have improved a lot but the benefits of these factors are not visible on the people. Both, inflation and economic growth, are important to determine macroeconomic aims of a country, however the case of Pakistan is somewhat curious. The claims of the government often make people wonder if the numbers quoted by the government are accurate or not?
One cannot contradict the figures provided by the government and alternate sources that contradict the provided figures are either not reliable or not readily available. Therefore, we have resorted to very basic way of reasoning to evaluate the government’s provided figures.
After comparing current living standards with the living standards of the people in 60s, 70s or even 80s, it can be safely said that inflation is higher than what it used to be in the past, although the numbers don’t reflect it. In 60s, there used to be only one bread winner for a family of 8-10 people, but in today’s Pakistan, 2-3 family members have to work in order to feed a small family of 5-6 people.
Previously, people were able to build/buy a (proper big) house in 8-10 years. But now with the limited income and ever increasing expenditures, it has become absolutely difficult to buy even a 2 bedroom flat in a good location. Difference exists between the past and present cost of living because previously the government used to take responsibility for providing basic necessities like health and education.
But that burden is now shifted onto the people. Taxes, electricity price, cost of food and prices of other basic necessities have gone up drastically. All these things have merged up to create more problems for the people, and eventually increased the cost of living in Pakistan. The standard of public transport previously available was much better than what is being provided right now.
The transportation system was strong and properly maintained. Moreover, people used to prefer government schools and universities over private institutions as the standard of education offered in government-operated institutions were quite high.
But now, private educational institutes are charging thousands of rupees as fees and in return are not able to provide quality education that people expect from them. Government-operated schools have gone so down that majority of the schools in the country don’t even have basic facilities like chairs, desks, boards etc.
The past versus present comparison makes it clear that the inflation and living standards are not as good as touted by the government. Experts believe that this cost will continue to increase until new reforms and measures are introduced to improve the cost of living in Pakistan. The government should focus on introducing measures to improve the lifestyle of the people rather than providing fancy numbers that just don’t show the on-ground reality and only look good on paper.