Inflation, and the acerbic effects it brings to the economy, has steadily been on the increase for the past four years in Pakistan. The inflation rate today is exceptionally worrying. According to the Bureau of statistics, Pakistan’s annual inflation rates in October are the highest they have been in four years.

According to the report, Pakistan’s annual inflation rate jumped to 7 per cent in October from 5.12 per cent a month earlier. On a month-on-month basis, prices spiked 2.56 percent in October, according to data released by the Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

The surge in the inflation rate is thought mostly to have come as a result of the devaluing of currency. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) devalued the currency five times since December, weakening it by 26 per cent against the dollar during that period. According to SBP, the inflation rate is predicted to increase further due to low probability of economic growth which renders the devaluation more harmful than beneficial.

There are also other reasons to blame for the inflation hike; reasons more directly to do with government policy. The hike in inflation is the unavoidable consequence of the government raising prices of gas and electricity. The 104.91 percent increase in gas prices had the butterfly effect of prompting a rise in the prices of food and consumer items as well- causing the populace to feel the real brunt of it.

While electricity and gas tariffs were a necessity for the government to overcome the losses faced by the energy sectors, these changes should have been made with safeguards in place for the common people, who are now struggling to deal with the abnormally high prices of necessary items. The finance ministry should have had a model ready to soften the blow of inflation for the public.

With the upcoming bailout packages Pakistan is to receive from China and Saudi Arabia, and the IMF loan we are predicted to negotiate, it is unfortunately inevitable that the inflation rate will increase further. To prepare with the consequences of inflation, the Finance Ministry ought to be seen laying ground work in protecting consumers from the harshest effects of these price hikes. Unfortunately, the Finance Minister is yet to come up with solution to mitigate the blows of inflation. Instead he is visiting one country after another with the Prime Minister to get financial aid from friendly countries - which while important, is certainly not as necessary as working on structural economic reform to bring down the inflation rate.