ISLAMABAD: A day after Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned that prices of petroleum products would go up, the government on Thursday night increased petrol price by Rs8.03 to Rs145.82 per litre, an all-time high, with immediate effect.
The ministry of finance made the announcement late last night through a notification, according to which the government increased the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs8.14 per litre. The new price of HSD now stands at Rs142.62 per litre.
Similarly, the price of kerosene oil was increased by Rs6.27 to Rs116.53 a litre. Under the notification, the new price of light diesel was Rs114.07 per litre after an increase of Rs5.72.
According to the notification, the new prices will be effective from today.
Petrol bomb for masses
Pakistanis are expressing their annoyance over the government’s decision on social media platforms, for which the PTI blames a surge in oil prices globally.
Justifying the latest increase in petroleum product prices, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill maintained on Friday that raising the price of petrol was not a decision the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wanted to take.
But the government considered every aspect before going for it, he claimed. “Petrol price has doubled in the whole world,” he said in a tweet.
پٹرول کی قیمت بڑھانا کوئی پسندیدہ فیصلہ نہیں تھا۔ ہر پہلو دیکھا گیا۔ پوری دنیا میں پٹرولیم کی قیمت دو گنا ہو چکی۔ حکومت پہلے ہی پٹرولیم ٹیکس 31 روپے سے کم کر کے 5 روپے تک لا چکی۔ اب بھی اگر قیمت کم رکھنی ہو تو پھر قرضہ لینا پڑے گا جو کسی صورت ملک کے مفاد میں نہیں۔— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) November 4, 2021
Gill said that the government had already reduced petroleum tax from Rs31 to Rs5, and if the price was still to be kept low, then the government had to mull taking debt, which was not in the interest of the country.
PM had warned petroleum prices would increase
On October 31, PM Imran had turned down a proposal by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the finance ministry for increasing the petrol price by Rs11.53/litre. However, earlier this week, in a televised address to the nation, he had also warned that “the government has no option but to increase the price in the future.”
“In last three, four months price of oil has increased 100% [globally]. In our country oil prices have increased by 33%,” the premier had said. According to him, this was because the government had reduced the levy so the burden does not fall on the people.
“Right now Pakistan, apart from oil-producing countries, has the cheapest prices in oil. But I am telling you today that we will have to increase petrol [price],” PM had said, adding that if the government did not increase it then the deficit will grow.