–Customers complain about hike in prices of festive commodities
–Shopkeepers say dwindling economy has harmed their business
LAHORE: Shopping has gained pace in the provincial capital as Eid draws near and the citizens have flooded markets, malls and bazaars, however, this year things are different due to rupee devaluation and the subsequent hike in inflation, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Prices of festive clothing and jewellery have skyrocketed and only the rich are able to afford them whereas the poor are excluded from the celebrations altogether.
This scribe observed that while quality items were beyond the reach of the common man, bangles and shoes which people could afford in the past were simply unaffordable as their prices were hiked by the shopkeepers themselves.
The shopkeepers justified this with the recent hike inflation. They said that due to scorching heat, not many people came to buy things this year and they increased the prices to meet their financial needs.
Shumaila Naz, a woman who was shopping at Anarkali Bazaar, said that she is a woman with limited resources and has a house to run. “Things are simply beyond my reach. If I buy them, I would face difficulties in managing my financing,” she said, adding that she has three children and it is not possible for her to buy them new clothes this year.
Afshan Masood, who was shopping at Liberty Market, said that every shopkeeper had their own set of prices. “This year, even the women who have set up henna and bangles stalls, are charging way too much. I wish there was a regulatory body to regulate these prices,” he said.
A father of four was seen distressed in Islampura Bazaar. When this scribe approached him for questioning, he said that it seems that this Eid is not for the poor. “This Eid is for the elite and upper class of ‘Naya Pakistan’ as only they can afford festive clothing and items,” he lamented. He also said that he had asked his wife to stitch clothes for their children at home because he could not afford new clothes for them.
A labourer sitting near Bhatta Chowk broke into tears when asked about Eid. He said that throughout Ramzan, he could not get any work and now he had no money to buy new clothes for his children. “I hardly have anything to eat at home. How can I think of buying clothes,” he said, adding that the incumbent government has disappointed him as he was expecting relief for the poor but he got nothing but inflation. “They made promises to uplift the poor during the election campaign but they have failed so badly,” he added.
A shopkeeper at Anarkali Bazaar said that the prices have been increased so that the vendors can meet their needs. “The weather is so hot and people barely show up for shopping. How are we to make any money under such circumstances,” he said.
Another shopkeeper said that the recent hike in inflation has broken all previous records and people do not have much buying power left.
Another disturbing thing that was seen in the market is the general downgrade in the quality of the products. The customers attributed this to the corruption of the vendors whereas the vendors said this was to reduce prices of the commodities.
Citizens will be celebrating Eid on June 5 or 6, depending upon when the moon is sighted.