PM Imran rejects proposal to increase petrol, HSD price by Rs5

Published November 15, 2021
A man refuels a car in this file photo. — AFP/File
A man refuels a car in this file photo. — AFP/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected on Monday yet another proposal for an increase in the prices of petroleum products, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The statement said the Finance Division had sent a summary — which was prepared by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) — to the prime minister, suggesting an increase in the rates of petroleum products effective from November 16.

According to the text of the summary shared by the PMO, petroleum products' prices are fluctuating in the international market and the variation in exchange rate is also affecting the prices.

"The existing sales tax rates ranging [from] 0.20 per cent to 6.75pc are below the bench mark rate of 17pc, and PL (petroleum levy) rates [ranging between] Rs0 per litre to Rs9.62 per litre are also reduced vis-a-vis the budgeted PL rate of Rs30 per litre," the summary said.

In the summary, the Ogra suggested that the existing price of petrol be increased by Rs5 to 150.80 per litre and that of high speed diesel (HSD) also by Rs5 to 147.62 per litre, effective from November 16. No increase was suggested in the price of Kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO).

"The prime minister has seen and, while not approving the proposal ... of the summary, is pleased to desire that [the] prices of petroleum products from November 16, 2021 shall remain the same as of current fortnight," the PMO's statement said.

It added that the Finance Division, in consultation with the Federal Board of Revenue, should place the matter pertaining to the adjustment of sale tax rates for petroleum products before the federal cabinet, if required.

Over the last two months, the government has twice increased the prices of petroleum products and has been facing severe criticism since. Major opposition parties, including the PML-N and the PPP, as well as the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement, have held rallies across the country and protests over what they term as "unprecedented inflation".

The federal government had drawn the ire of its political rivals after it had raised the price of petrol by Rs10.49 per litre and that of HSD by Rs12.44 per litre on October 16. Meanwhile, the prices of kerosene and LDO were increased by Rs10.95 and Rs8.84 per litre respectively.

Later, after rejecting another suggestion for an increase in petroleum products' prices on October 30 in "public interest", the government hiked the rates again by up to Rs8.14 per litre with immediate effect on November 5 to ensure the revival of the International Monetary Fund programme.

The government had increased the price of petrol and HSD by Rs8.03 and Rs8.14 per litre, respectively. Similarly, the prices of kerosene and LDO were increased by Rs6.27 and Rs5.72 per litre, respectively.

The ex-depot price of petrol was fixed at Rs145.82 per litre and that of HSD at Rs142.62 per litre. Likewise, the ex-depot price of kerosene was set at Rs116.53 per litre and the ex-depot rate of LDO was increased to Rs114.07 per litre.

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