ISLAMABAD: Hours after presenting the mini-budget in the parliament, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar approved a massive increase in fuel prices on Wednesday, including a Rs22.20 jump in petrol and a Rs17.20 hike in diesel rates.

The decision was made minutes before the clock struck 12 midnight, possibly to prevent people from thronging petrol stations. And around the same time, new gas prices were also notified, including an increase of up to 124 per cent for some consumers.

According to a finance ministry notification, the new prices, effective from Feb 16, of petroleum products are Rs272 per litre for petrol (after a hike of Rs22.2); Rs280 for high-speed diesel, or HSD (up Rs17.2); Rs196.68 for light diesel oil, or LDO (up Rs9.68); and Rs202.73 for kerosene (up Rs12.9).

The ministry said fuel prices had been increased because of the rupee’s devaluation, which makes imported fuel costlier at home.

Gas rates increased by up to 124pc

Wednesday’s increase was the second massive hike in fuel prices in little over a fortnight after the government in late January raised petrol and diesel rates by Rs35 per litre in a surprise announcement, which came days before the schedule.

Meanwhile, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has increased the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Rs2 per kilogram up to the end of February.

According to an Ogra notification, the LPG price has now been fixed at Rs266 per kg, taking the price of a domestic cylinder to Rs3,142 after an increase of Rs27, and that of a commercial cylinder to Rs12,086 after a hike of Rs102.

Gas prices

The new gas prices, to be effective from Jan 1 to June 30, 2023, have been notified in line with an Economic Coordination Committee decision, which was ratified by the federal cabinet.

Sources said the government was expected to collect Rs310bn in six months from gas consumers.

The hike in prices will not apply to domestic consumers who will use 50 cubic metres of gas, as they will continue to pay the existing rate of Rs121 per unit — equal to one million British thermal units (mmBtu) — for this slab.

However, households using 100 cubic metres of gas per month will face a 16.6pc hike, as the price has been raised to Rs350 per unit from Rs300 for this category.

Similarly, the per-unit gas rate has been increased by 32pc to Rs730 on monthly consumption of up to 200 cubic metres, by 69pc to Rs1,250 on the next slab of up to 300 cubic metres, by 99pc to Rs2,200 on 400 cubic metres, and by 124pc to Rs3,277 for households that will use more than 400 cubic metres of gas per month.

For commercial gas consumers, prices have been raised by 28.6pc to Rs1,650 per unit from Rs1,283. The power sector will pay 22.8pc more for gas, as the price has raised to Rs1,050 per unit from Rs857.

The per-unit gas price has been increased by 34pc to Rs1,100 for the export sector, by 31pc to Rs1,800 for the CNG sector, by 46pc to Rs1,500 for the fertiliser sector, and by 17.5pc to Rs1,500 for the cement sector.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2023

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