Petrol, diesel prices hiked by massive Rs20 per litre in ‘national interest’
Ishaq Dar cites international rates, IMF condition for increasing petrol prices: Says PM reluctantly nodded to new rates: Revised prices come into effect immediately
By News Desk
August 1, 2023 10:53 AM
The outgoing coalition government has hiked the petrol and diesel prices by massive 20 rupees per litre, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Announcing the decision on Tuesday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar cited higher international petroleum rates for increasing in local prices of petrol and high speed diesel.
The per-litre petrol price has been raised by Rs19.95 and diesel by Rs19.90. The new petrol prices is Rs272.95 and the diesel rate is Rs273.40.
In a recorded video statement, Ishaq Dar said the petrol prices had increased sharply in the international market in the last 15 days and the government had tried to minimise the hike.
The prices review was due on July 31, but the government did not announce new rates as the officials tried to maintain or reduce the rates — keeping in view the impact of the price hike on inflation-weary people.
Ishaq Dar, who made the announcement as the finance minister for the last time as the coalition government's term will end on August 12, said the increase was inevitable as Pakistan had agreed with the IMF on imposing petroleum development levy (PDL) to the rates.
The minister said that the decision was made "in the national interest" and that the new rates were to be effective immediately. He also stressed that his team had tried to "work" on the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority's (Ogra) recommendations until the wee hours of the night but found themselves with their backs against the wall.
Ishaq Dar said “The basic reason behind the delay in the announcement was that we were looking at if there were ways to reduce the prices, if there was any room for that.”
The minister said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also been taken into confidence and that the approval came albeit with reluctance. “We all know that the international commitments we have with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the petroleum levy, if they weren’t there then we would have announced either partial adjustment or whatever the premier would have deemed appropriate to give a lower increase. But everyone knows we have a standby agreement,” he added.
Ishaq Dar also emphasized that it was the previous PTI government's decision to renege on its promises with the IMF which had been detrimental to the country's national interest.
"Keeping in mind national interest, it is crucial that we pass on the minimum [amount] which has been calculated," the finance minister added.
The IMF had imposed stringent conditions to ensure that the $3 billion Standby Agreement continues smoothly. One of the requirements of the agreement is to raise the petroleum levy to Rs60 per litre.
The Reuters news agency termed the rise in petroleum prices “big” to reflect international market prices, in line with the objectives of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.