Under the veil of rising inflation, the profit-seekers want to take maximum advantage of the current economic situation. Sometimes the market witnesses a wheat crisis. On other occasions, cheap vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and onions go beyond the buying power of ordinary people. While people look up to the government to keep the prices of essential commodities in check, the government seems unable to apprehend the profiteers.

The prices of potatoes, onions and sugars are once again on the rise in Karachi. The recent price hike comes in a time when the Prime Minister (PM) and his cabinet members are hoping to provide some relief to the common man. The recent price hike in a time when the government has made it clear that no hoarder or profiteer will be spared reflects the weakening writ of the state.

Nonetheless, poor governance, particularly at the local level is one of the likely factors making present food inflation persist longer and a recurring phenomenon. Things get more complicated due to the lack of price control committees. Thus, the perception of a government lacking the ability to enforce its writ is giving way to hoarding. This, in turn, allows the dealers to exploit the market to their benefit.

Hardly a month ago, the PM Imran Khan admitted his government’s failure to keep the prices of sugar and wheat flour in check. But it seems that the government has not devised a mechanism that can avoid surfacing of such a situation again.

When a parliamentary committee on wheat price increase has been turned into a commission tasked with presenting results on the matter within one week, the recent rise in prices of sugar and potatoes suggest that the hoarders fear neither committees nor commissions. The state needs to establish its writ in the market before finding the ones responsible for the wheat crisis.