Days after the government increased the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs12, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Sunday shared a table from a crowd-sourced database, Numbeo, claiming Pakistan to be one of the cheapest country across the globe.
In a notification issued last Tuesday, the government announced a significant increase in the prices of all petroleum products by up to Rs10 to Rs12 per liter. These are the highest-ever prices of all the products and also perhaps the highest-ever increase in their prices in one go.
The historic increase in petroleum prices led to the opposition leaders condemning and slamming the PTI government, calling it “insensitive and heartless” to the sufferings of inflation-affected people.
It may also be recalled how on the previous hike in petroleum prices, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that it is PM Imran Khan’s new year gift to citizens and that the only way to end inflation is by ousting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Despite the evident skyrocketing inflation in the country, the finance minister claims Pakistan to be one of the “least costly” countries across the globe. Taking to Twitter, Tarin shared a table titled ‘The Cost of Living Index by Country 2021 Mid-Year’.
It showed Pakistan to be at the bottom of the list out of 139 countries. The table included the cost of living, groceries, rent, restaurant pricing, and purchasing power.
Turning a blind eye to the inaccuracy of data
The website also claims that a “family of four estimated monthly costs are Rs171,783.24 without rent”. On the other hand, it claims that “a single person estimated monthly costs are Rs51,798.76 without rent”.
It is pertinent to note here that the minimum wage in Pakistan is a mere Rs20,000.
According to the table, India ranked at 138th while Afghanistan ranked at 136th. Bermuda ranked at the top being the most expensive country across the world, whereas Switzerland ranked at the 2nd place.
However, in 2017, a report in a Swedish newspaper had said, “Numbeo should hardly be considered stats, it’s more like reviews. Anyone, anywhere in the world can change the data, as many times as they want”. The website “uses the wisdom of the crowd to get as reliable data as possible” and is easy to manipulate.
In light of the fact that the finance minister’s tweets came only a few days after the government approved a massive increase in the prices of petroleum products, those in power seem incredibly delusional about the suffering of people.
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