ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government on Sunday announced an increase in the prices of petroleum products for the month of July was inevitable, media sources reported.
Ali Zafar, the caretaker information minister, explained that the bitter decision to approve a hike in the petroleum prices had to be taken.
On Saturday, the caretaker government through a notification approved a significant upward revision in petroleum prices, with new rates coming into effect from July 1 (Sunday) onward.
The price of petrol has been hiked by Rs7.54, climbing to Rs99.5, and that of kerosene by Rs3.36 per litre, climbing to Rs87.7, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry.
Moreover, the price of High-Speed Diesel (HSD) has been jacked up by Rs14 per litre to reach Rs119.31.
It is pertinent to note here that Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) too had proposed increase in the price of petrol by Rs7.54 per litre and diesel by Rs14 per litre.
“Due to tight fiscal position, the government decided to pass on the full impact of the increase to the consumers,” reads the finance ministry statement.
The new prices were put in effect from July 1, 2018 till midnight on July 31, 2018.
As per the notification, the caretaker government has cited the worsening economic condition as the reason for the price hike.
Traders demand immediate withdrawal of price hike
In Rawalpindi traders here on Sunday asked the caretaker government to withdraw the increase in petroleum prices within three days otherwise a shutter-down strike will be started.
Rawalpindi Traders Association spokesman Naveed Kanwal argued that the caretaker government had no right to make such a major decision as its mandate was limited to holding general elections without imposing new taxes or increasing them.
Babar Jadoon, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Rawalpindi chapter president, termed the hike in POL prices unjustified and said it would make common man’s life miserable.
He demanded withdrawal of the petroleum price hike and said the newly-elected government would have to take some decisions to end inflation. Former PML-N MNA Malik Shakil Awan said the petroleum price hike would increase the monthly budget of the common man. He said it would also have a negative effect on the industry and would send prices of different products skyrocketing.
Syed Zameer Shah, an educationist, described the increase as an anti-farmer measure and said it would ruin the farming sector.
He said farmers were already facing financial crunch due to shortage of irrigation water and high prices of agricultural inputs. He said the POL price hike would also enhance the monthly expenses of farmers, especially those using tractors and tube wells.