People earning below Rs40,000, will get Rs2,000 under PM relief package

Miftah says POL hike was unavoidable to stop inflation: Giving details of Sasta Petrol-Diesel Scheme, minister hopes there would be no hike in POL prices at month-end: No proposal to raise electricity tariff: Says petrol price rise strengthened rupee, stock market: Says country needs to privatize certain entities including Discos and power companies

By: News Desk
Published: 12:45 PM, 28 May, 2022
People earning below Rs40,000, will get Rs2,000 under PM relief package
Caption: TV grab.
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Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail while giving further details of the Sasta Petrol-Diesel Scheme launched by the prime minister said on Saturday that the hiking prices of petroleum products has strengthened rupee and gave boost to the stock market, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad along with Minister of State for Finance Ayesha Ghous Pasha, Miftah Ismael said anyone earning less than Rs40,000 can avail this scheme. “One can send his national identity card number to 786 on June 1 and avail the Rs2,000,” he added.

Responding to a question, the minister said he did not know whether the petrol price will see another increase at the month-end. “The petroleum prices have just been raised, hopefully there would be no more increase on June 1,” he maintained.

He also said that there was no proposal under consideration to raise the electricity tariff.

The government is saying that it still is paying about Rs56.71 per litre subsidy on HSD, Rs37.84 on LDO, Rs21.83 on petrol and Rs17.02 on kerosene.

The ongoing talks with the IMF for the revival of $6 billion loan programme and immediate release of the $1 billion tranche are still hang in balance as the Fund wants government of Pakistan to withdraw all subsidies announced by the previous PTI government on POL products and energy.  

While addressing the presser, Miftah explained had the government not risen the POL prices, then the economy would have come under pressure and inflation would have rebounded.

He praised PM Shehbaz’s endeavour who launched cheap petrol and diesel scheme.

Finance Minister Miftah revealed that Rs28 billion relief package announced by the premier under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) would be released after final approval by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board. He said that the fund, which had to provide $3 billion, has been requested to extend the programme by one year and provide additional $2 billion, adding accordingly the country expects around $5 billion from the fund.

He further divulged the staff-level agreement with the IMF would be signed next month (June).

Miftah said that the programme with the Fund was not important just because the country gets money from the fund rather, it is important because it opens ways for getting funds from other multilateral organizations like Word Bank and Asian Development Bank.

He said, once unlocked by IMF, Pakistan would get money from multilateral organizations adding that around $8.9 billion were already in pipeline from the World Bank.

The minister also hailed the decision of the government to raise the POL prices as it gave boost to the rupee and its value was appreciated in the market. A robustness in the stock market has also been observed, he added.

Giving details about the PM relief package, the minister said ‘Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel’ scheme would benefit around one third population of the country by providing cash to 14 million households (84,000,000 people).

Disbursement of Rs2,000 to each household would start from June, bringing the total relief amount to Rs28 billion in June.

He said around 7.3 million recipients were already registered with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and if these are excluded there are 6.7 poor households having below 37 poverty score.

He said that the BISP participants would be provided immediate relief or Rs2,000 whereas women head of those households who are not registered should send their CNIC on phone number 786 for registration for the programme.

He said, the relief scheme would be incorporated in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

He lashed out at the previous PTI government saying that the previous ‘inept’ rulers were responsible for inflation in the country. He said that former prime minister Imran Khan agreed with the IMF that government would not provide subsidy on petrol and it was also reached between them that the government would raise petrol levy by 30%.

“The price of diesel would have been Rs300/L and petrol Rs 270/L if we had stuck to the conditions, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin had agreed with the IMF,” Miftah added.

He said Tarin claimed that he had put money for the subsidized petrol but it was all lie as there was no money in the national exchequer.

To a question on privatization, the minister said, there was no talk on privatization with IMF this time. However, he added, the country needed to privatize certain entities including Discos and power companies for its own interest to reduce burden on national exchequer.

He said that Saudi Arabia has already announced extension of its $3 billion deposits to Pakistan and hinted that some more support was expected from that country the details of which would be shared in July.

To a question on import ban, the minister said that ban was imposed on import of chocolates and perform in bulk, however personally anyone can get it for personal use.