Govt increases petrol price by Rs35 immediately
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that the price of petrol and diesel has been increased by Rs35, with the new prices taking effect at 11pm on Sunday.
The price of petrol rose from 214.80 to Rs249.80. The price of diesel changed from Rs 227.80 be Rs262.80.
The prices of kerosene and light diesel have also increased by Rs18.
Read more: Maryam tells people to keep faith in Dar in the face of staggering economy
The increase comes after reports of petrol shortage in many parts of the country on Sunday morning. Prices change normally takes effect at midnight after a few hours notice but the latest increase came into effect on midday with the minister’s announcement.
“Rumours of Rs50 or Rs47 or Rs80 increase in the rates of petrol and diesel are rife on social media,” Ishaq Dar said in a televised broadcast on Sunday morning. “There are reports related to artificial shortage due to hoarding,” he added, before dropping the new prices.
However, he justified the increase by saying that the decrease in the rupee’s value and increase in oil’ international prices had made the increase inevitable.
“We have to keep in mind the 11% increase in oil rates in the international market,” he added.
He also added that the PM had instructed him to make sure that there was a ‘minimum increase’ despite the pressure from currency rates and international il prices.
Dar also said that the petrol prices had not been increased in the last eight months, and in the last four months the prices of petrol had actually been decreased by Rs19 to 20.
He also clarified that though temporary shortages may have been created due to hoarding, there is no shortage of fuel in the country.
“Sufficient quantity of all these products is present in the country and in normal circumstances there is no reason for any shortage.” he said. “I think unfortunately it’s an incentive for those who were waiting for high rates. So these prices are announced right now.”
Has Ishaq Dar relented to IMF pressure?
When Ishaq Dar resumed his role as Pakistan’s finance minister on September 28 last year, he came in with strong claims of reigning in the dollar.
“I know how to deal with the IMF,” Dar had told journalist Hamid Mir as former finance minister Miftah Ismail said that not increasing petroleum levy was ‘reckless’. Dar also carried a hard line on the rupee’s value against the dollar, saying that its real value was below 200.
However, after failing to bring the IMF to its terms and aid from friendly countries not matrialising without the international lender’s approval, Dar seems to have decided to to accept IMF conditions.
The IMF conditions have been imposed to resume a stalled bailout programme. An IMF team is expected to arrive in Islamabad for negotiations on January 31.
The first indication of this came when the dollar beat down the ruppee with a historic single-day increase in its value. The increase came after forex traders said they would no longer follow the unoffical cap imposed by the Dar regime to keep the rupee’s value aritficially low.
Maryam Nawaz, who returned to Pakistan after three months, asked supporters on Saturday to ‘keep faith’ in Ishaq Dar to steer Pakistan out of the current economic quagmire.
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