Things that can be done to lessen the impact of fuel hike on our budgets

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THE third hike in the petroleum products has brought unprecedented pain to the inflation-hit people. But, sadly, more pain is yet to come in the weeks, or months, ahead.

Citizens who have yet to recover from the government’s third late-night shock in the fuel hike must be thinking about more financial miseries the future has in store for them. As the next fiscal year begins on July 1, when the government’s financial proposal to stack the petroleum levy and sales tax on top of the per-liter cost of gasoline and diesel takes effect, the devastating impact in our household budgets caused by simply fuel is projected to deepen. It will almost certainly be followed by an increase in virtually all other expenses as a result of higher production and transportation costs.

The situation is, without a jot doubt, quite disappointing, one that appears unavoidable in view of the global market conditions and the country’s dire financial state.

Citizens will continue to suffer endlessly unless the government finds new streams of revenue to create fiscal space for subsidies.

The public, for their part, can save money right away by limiting travel to only necessary chores, carpooling whenever possible, and driving smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles instead of “fuel guzzlers” if the option is available. At home, lifestyle modifications such as conserving electricity and reducing non-essential, imported goods consumption can help minimize monthly costs.

Employers must consider work-from-home policy where possible to help employees save on travel expenses.

This should serve as a stark warning to policymakers, who must design more ingenious plans to enable citizens to move to less expensive fuel and power sources. As individuals struggle to keep up with the rising costs of electricity, the promotion of solar power technology is becoming increasingly important. Similarly, more effort must be made to persuade the automobile sector to design vehicles that prioritise fuel efficiency.

Electric car ownership should be subsidized to encourage people to move to greener vehicles that are significantly less expensive to operate than those that run on petroleum. Incentives should be provided for Pakistani engineers and entrepreneurs who want to start businesses that will help indigenize renewable energy and electric car manufacturing. Instead of focusing on making tanks, bombs, and bullets, the government should consider manufacturing solar panels and electric cars.

The nation needs unity of purpose and a strong will to surmount this mounting national challenge. Given the nation’s resilience and ability to bounce back, this crisis will soon be weathered.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.

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