According to a report, at least 16 deaths occurred due to stampedes at food banks in Pakistan last month, and the country’s statistics department said Saturday that inflation in consumer prices in March hit a record 35.37 percent from a year earlier.
The year-over-year price increases in food, beverages, and transportation reached 50% in March, pushing inflation higher than February’s 31.5%.
As a result of a government-sponsored initiative to mitigate the effects of inflation, numerous individuals have flocked to flour distribution centers set up around the nation.
Police have confirmed that at least 16 individuals, including five women and three children, have died in stampedes in those facilities in recent days. According to official reports, thousands of sacks of flour have been stolen from lorries and distribution facilities.
According to a bureau spokesman, this was the largest annual percentage rise since the agency started keeping monthly data in the 1970s. This is the greatest inflation rate ever recorded.
The agency said that the index of consumer prices rose 3.72 percent in March compared to the previous month. Inflationary pressures were attributed to increases in the costs of food, cooking oil, and electricity.
In March, annual food inflation was reported by the agency to be 47.1% in urban areas and 50.2% in rural regions. Inflation in urban areas was 18.6%, while in rural regions was 23.1%.
Pakistan’s economy has been in disarray for months due to a severe balance of payments problem, and efforts with the IMF to acquire $1.1 billion in finance as part of a $6.5 billion rescue agreed upon in 2019 have not yet shown fruit.
The amount of foreign currency Pakistan has on hand is now just enough to finance imports for around four weeks.
Higher inflation expectations were attributed to factors such as exchange rate depreciation, the recent increase in gasoline costs, and market frictions generated by comparative supply and demand gaps of critical products.
Officials announced on Friday that Pakistan’s finance minister would not be traveling to Washington DC for the springtime conferences of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund due to political unrest at home.