PM Shehbaz to announce relief package to offset petrol price hike
Miftah Ismail tries to calm nerves of jittery people over increase in POL price: Says measure will stabilise rupee and consequently petrol prices will come down
May 27, 2022 11:46 AM
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will address the nation today to announce a relief package for the lower-income groups to neutralise the impact of the petrol price hike in the country.
After delivering a petrol price hike shock last night, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Friday tried to calm the nerves of the jittery nation, which is already struggling economically in the face of skyrocketing inflation, by saying that the POL prices will be decreased eventually after an increase in the value of rupee, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The finance minister said that putting the burden on people was a difficult decision, but the government had to do so. He said that the step would give some stability to the rupee and after appreciation in its value, the prices of petroleum products would ultimately come down.
He also stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would announce a relief package later today (Friday) for those who could not afford a hike in the POL prices.
The prime minister would discuss the reasons behind the rise in petrol prices and would present an analytical review, besides describing the political situation and future course of action which the government would take.
The finance minister expressed his optimism that things would be sorted out with the International Monetary Fund and other global monetary institutions once the government withdrew subsidy on petrol prices.
He lashed out at the previous PTI government which reached a deal with the IMF on bizarre conditions saying had the new government followed Imran Khan’s formula, then the petrol price would have been hiked to Rs205/L.
Mr Ismail announced an increase in the POL prices soon after his return from Doha where he and his economic team were engaged with the IMF for the release of $1 billion tranche under the global lender’s Extended Fund Facility in order to save Pakistan from economic disaster.
In a series of tweets last night, Mr Ismail announced an increase in the POL prices.
The finance minister during a press conference on Thursday said it was indispensable for the government to put some burden on the people.
The increase in the price of petroleum products would result in inflation, he said stressing that the government has no option other than taking this step.
Ismail said the ex-PM went against the IMF deal and announced subsidies on petroleum products when his government's tenure was coming to an end.
"We are all the owners of a country. How can we afford such subsidies that are costing three times more than running the everyday affairs of the governments,"
The minister said it was an injustice to the lower-income segment of the society that the people who own cars, industries, and generators, are getting subsidies.
"Indeed, this is the failure of the government that inflation is rising but we have provided subsidies on commodities at utility stores and are making sugar available at a lesser cost than Imran Khan's government," he said.
Ismail said increasing the price of petroleum products by Rs30 was not an easy decision for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, but vowed that the incumbent government would take steps to safeguard the economy.