Government defends petroleum prices hike as masses, opposition outraged

Pakistan government raised the price of petrol by nearly 26% with immediate effect

The prices of petroleum prices jumped up significantly as the government adjusted them, citing “an increase in prices internationally.” Petrol price rose by 25.58 rupees per liter with immediate effect and is now lurking at 100.10 rupees. The increase in prices has irked the masses who took to social media platform to vent their displeasures and criticize the decision.  

Prices of other petroleum prices also got a significant bump. The price of high-speed diesel (HSD) increased to 101.46 rupees per litre from the current price of 80.15 rupees, a hike of 21.31 rupees. The new price of kerosene oil (SKO) will be 59.06 rupees, an increase of 23.50 rupees over the existing 35.56 rupees. The price of light diesel oil (LDO) jumped up by Rs17.84 to Rs55.98 from the current 38.14 rupees.

Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, in his address to the House, claimed that the prices of petroleum products in the country are lowest in South Asia. He also said that the prices of OPEC basket increased by 46% last month.

In a bid to generate additional revenue, the government hiked the general sales tax (GST) on all petroleum products to a standard rate of 17%. Until January last year, the rates were significantly lower with 0.5pc GST on LDO, 2pc on kerosene, 8pc on petrol and 13pc on HSD.

Apart from the 17% GST, the government has nearly increased the rate of petroleum levy four folds on HSD and petrol to Rs30 per litre — the maximum allowed limit — from Rs8 per litre in January last year.

The government was highly criticized in the national assembly session as members of the opposition parties the sudden raise in petroleum prices as well as the inability of the government in dealing with mafias that created the shortage of petroleum products in the country. Raja Riaz, one of the government’s own members lambasted the decision to hike the oil prices. The opposition demanded an FIA investigation into the shortage of petroleum products.

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