Miftah promises 'relief' in fuel prices on back of global decline, IMF agreement

Published July 14, 2022
In this file photo, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
In this file photo, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday promised the nation "relief" in petrol and diesel prices in light of declining global crude oil prices as well as the staff-level agreement with the IMF.

"After this agreement and the recent decline in international oil prices, God willing, we will now be able to provide relief to our people," he said in response to a tweet by journalist Hamid Mir.

The journalist had asked the minister to also thank the public who had paid the price for the IMF's demands.

In a separate statement, the minister vowed to provide relief to the people by reducing prices of petrol, diesel and other essential commodities. The statement was also carried by state broadcaster Radio Pakistan.

Ismail said that the government had worked day and night to pull Pakistan out of difficult times and congratulated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for taking "brave decisions".

"Saving Pakistan from economic bankruptcy is our first major achievement. Now, we will lead the country towards economic development."

He said the country had been saved from the "landmines laid out by Imran Khan and his government" during the last four years.

The minister said the PTI chief had reneged on the agreement his government had made with the Fund and tried to push the country to the point where Sri Lanka is today.

"But, I want to tell you that Imran Khan's conspiracy to make Pakistan bankrupt has failed," Ismail said, adding that life would now "go back to normal".

"We will take Pakistan towards development and prosperity," he promised. "We will collect more taxes, work harder and make things easier for the people."

Petrol prices

Reuters has reported that global benchmark Brent crude further plunged 39 cents to $99.10 a barrel on Wednesday on a strengthening dollar, demand-sapping Covid-19 curbs in top crude importer China, and rising fears of a global economic slowdown.

On Tuesday, the PM had sought a summary from the ministries of finance and petroleum, carrying a proposal for a reduction in the prices of petroleum products to ease inflationary pressure on the masses.

The prime minister had told the meeting participants that the government would pass on the full benefit to the consumers who had been "braving hardships owing to the rise in petroleum prices".

He had said the government would reduce oil prices transparently at par with the reduction in the international market, which according to the PM Office's statement, was a "gift to people on the occasion of Eidul Azha".

The PML-N-led coalition government has been increasing petroleum prices since the last week of May as it slashed fuel subsidies to unlock IMF funding.

The prices of petrol, high-speed diesel, kerosene and light diesel oil have skyrocketed 66pc (or Rs99), 92pc (Rs132.39), 95pc (Rs111.95) and 80pc (Rs100.59) since May 26, when the government introduced the first of a series of fuel price hikes.

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