Austerity measures

The exponential surge in essential commodities and fuel prices, mainly driven by the global economic meltdown, is predicted to stay here for at least a few months. The public outcry and protests against the fuel prices hike, calling for the reversal of the decision, are understandable; however, they have negligible chances of forcing the government to reconsider its decision, given its compulsions to appease the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to secure loans. The dire economic situation calls for taking drastic austerity measures at an individual level to survive the severe economic shocks.

First, people commuting to offices on their private vehicles can opt for carpooling or take public transport that, in addition to taking thousands of cars off the road, thus reducing hefty oil import bills owing to less fuel demand, provide an economical alternative.

Second, it is generally observed that electrical appliances, like air conditioners (ACs), lights etc., remain switched on unnecessarily while leaving a room or an office, which costs a significant amount in an electricity bill, especially after the recent hike in electricity tariffs. Thus, it is required to develop a habit of switching off the appliances when they are not needed and minimize usage by limiting consumption to a bare minimum required in these challenging times.

Third, buying essential commodities eats away a significant chunk of a household budget; its impact, especially in these testing times, can be partially offset by growing vegetables at home, which will provide a cushion to spend the amount saved in this way on other essentials.

Hard times often call for adapting to painful realities, which is necessary to survive in challenging times. The alteration in our individual choices and living standards, as described above, can keep us afloat in the current crushing economic situation.

ASAD AZIZ,

Khushab.

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