Record sale of bikes as Pak’s rural areas are thriving: Minister Shaukat Tarin on poverty rate

Islamabad, Nov 27: Pakistan’s rural areas are “thriving” due to bumper crops leading to “record sales of motorcycles”, said Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin while citizens struggle to buy basic food items amid high inflation.
Citing World Bank’s latest data showing a drop in Pakistan’s poverty level by 1 per cent, the Minister said, ?Our problem is inflation, which has affected the lower middle class in urban areas the worst.”
Speaking at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday, he claimed the rural areas are “thriving” due to bumper crops and that led to “record sales of motorcycles”.
He said, the middle upper class people are also doing well as “restaurants are full of people. Cars are getting expensive.”
While trying to playing down the incidence of poverty, the minister said, inflation, not poverty, is the real problem of Pakistan.
His remarks come despite several reports of lower-and middle-income classes struggling to buy basic food items due to inflation.
In late October, the country broke its 70-year record as the food prices continue to double and price of ghee, oil, sugar, flour and poultry reach historic levels.
Citing Federal Bureau of Statistics, The News International reported that from October 2018 to October 2021, electricity rates have increased by 57 per cent from Rs 4.06 per unit to at least Rs 6.38 per unit.
The highest price hike has been in food items, especially edible ghee and oil. The price of ghee has increased by 108 per cent to Rs 356 per kg.
Meanwhile, the price of sugar has surged by 83 per cent in three years.
Dawn quoted Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, as saying, “Food prices tend to go up as soon as the rates of petroleum products increase.”
The second most important trigger is the flour price. People use it as a benchmark. Any increase in the flour rate automatically leads to a jump in food prices across the board, he added.
The prices of cooking oil, sugar and chicken in last three years has been 88 per cent, 83 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively. Prices of beef, eggs, milk and rice have gone up 48 per cent, 47 per cent, 33 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively, over the same three-year period, Dawn reported.