SALMAN ABDUHOO LAHORE - The prices of cooking oil and ghee have shot up by Rs 9 per kg amidst regular increase in power tariff in the country and constant upward trend in global palm oil rates. According to market sources, the price of 5 kg pack of cooking oil and ghee has risen by Rs 45 to reach Rs 940, translating into a hike of Rs 9 per kg. Dealers said the prices of 12kg box of normal quality cooking oil have risen to Rs 1,950 from Rs 1,830 within a week, while one kg pack is available for Rs 165, showing a jump of Rs 9 from earlier rate of Rs 156 per kg. Market sources said the prices of 16 kilogram tin of ghee surged to Rs 2,650 from Rs 2,500, showing a rise of Rs 150, while the rates of branded cooking oil and ghee in one kilogram packing have been constant during this period. The average quality ghee and cooking oil like Punjab and Shan brands is presently available for Rs 165 per kg while the high standard ghee and cooking oil rate like that of Dalda, Sufi and Habib are being sold in the range of Rs 172-175 per kg. Market sources said that the companies have raised the wholesale price of high quality branded ghee in one kg packing to Rs 169 per kg. Resultantly its price at retail level will also go up, they added. It is interesting to note that the prices of 12kg box of ordinary quality ghee and cooking oil had risen to Rs 1,830 from Rs 1,810 some 15 days ago. Retailers said that they are selling ghee in lose packing at Rs 172 per kg, as the wholesale rate is not less than Rs 166 per kg excluding transportation and other charges. They said that though the rates have been raised on the excuse of escalation in the palm oil prices in the global market but most of the manufacturers have around two months stock at their depots, so their plea is totally wrong. Manufacturers and wholesalers are of the view that their cost is constantly increasing due to regular hike in power tariff in the country as well as monthly raise in petroleum products. Muhammad Farid, a retailer in Mozang area, told The Nation that the cooking oil prices were increased due to rise in palm oil prices in the international market. He revealed that the prices of several other kitchen items have also been amidst ever-soaring inflation. Consumers said all leading ghee and oil manufacturers, in the garb of increase in palm oil prices in international market, have kept increasing prices. They said that the city district government seemed to have no interest in affairs of the public who were facing the burden of ever-soaring inflation. They said that they were frustrated with the performance of their elected representatives who never care for them. Consumers were of the view that the increase would squeeze further purchasing power of the masses while inflation and unemployment have already reached its peak in the country.