February 9, 2020 (MLN): The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has said that it’s non-biased towards compilation and publication of price statistics after it observed a number of news items giving the impression that inflation numbers were being understated.
According to a statement issued by the PBS, the estimates by various research was around 13 percent (13.60% according to data compiled by MG), whereas the actual inflation compiled by PBS for the month of January, 2019 is (14.56%) more than what was estimated.
PBS mentioned that it followed standing operating procedures regarding time schedule for data collection and this inflation is higher because the prices were collected during the peak of the price surge in mid of the month.
Furthermore, PBS clarifies that as far as the average price of wheat flour (Rs.47/kg) is concerned it is weighted average price calculated from varying prices from Rs.800 to Rs.1200 in different cities as per availability of flour in the market. The prices in Punjab were on average Rs.40 per kg while in Karachi it was highest at Rs. 60 per kg.
City-wise prices of 51 essential items are given as annexure of the CPI on the website of PBS. It is observed that in Punjab the wheat flour average price ranges from 800 to 942 per 20 kg, where both the government controlled and private flour is available in the market. While in KPK, Sindh and Balochistan the average wheat flour price ranges from 1000 to 1200 per 20 kg.
The comment regarding 5% increase in Rent: The rent prices are collected on quarterly basis and computed on the basis of weighted average approach based on the data collected from small and large housing units, which revealed that the year on year rent increase is 5.63% for the current quarter. This increase is aligned with historical trend of rent increase given in the table below; however it is not essential that rent increases every month.
It is further clarified that PBS collects real time prices data based on android technology equipped with GPS and monitored at different levels. The prices data collection, validation and publication are well synchronized with best global standard Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP). PBS compiles data without any political intervention or motivation and transparency is ensured regarding city-wise price data. Therefore, fudging of the data is not possible.
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