On Sunday, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin claimed that Pakistan was one of the “cheapest” countries across the globe.
He shared a table from Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database, claiming that the PTI-led government had reformed the spending structure of the country.
Tarin’s claim comes days after the government surged the prices of petroleum products by Rs12.
The table that Tarin shared was titled ‘The Cost of Living Index by 2021 Mid-Year’. It showed Pakistan at the bottom of the list out of a total of 139 countries. The table showed the cost of living, rent, restaurant pricing, groceries, and purchasing power.
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According to the table, India was at 138th while Afghanistan ranked 136th. As per the list, Bermuda was the most expensive country in the world, whereas Switzerland stood in 2nd place.
The website claimed that a “family of four had monthly costs of Rs171,783.24 without rent”, whereas “a single person had a monthly spending of Rs51,798.76 without rent.”
It is pertinent to state that the minimum wage in Pakistan is Rs20,000.
In 2017, a Swedish newspaper report said, “Number should not be considered stats. It’s more like reviews.” The Swedish newspaper noted that anyone, anywhere in the world, could change its data “as many times as they want.”
“The website uses the wisdom of the crowd to be as reliable as possible and is easy to manipulate.”
Tarin’s tweet came a few days after the government stamped a massive increase in petroleum products’ price on account of surging global prices.
The government okayed Rs12.03 per litre in the prices of petroleum products, taking fuel to a record Rs159.86 per litre effective from February 16. Similarly, a significant hike in the prices of power tariffs is also slated for this week. Power tariff is likely to spike by Rs6.10 per unit. The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) is set to hear an application on February 28.