The federal government increased the petrol and diesel prices by nearly Rs20 per liter on Tuesday amid a hike in rates in the international market. The announcement comes days before the completion of the incumbent National Assembly’s tenure.
“In the national interest, this is necessary that the minimum increase should be passed on,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on PTV News. “The new rates will be in effect immediately.”
The rate of petrol after Rs19.95 increase stands at Rs272.95 while the high-speed diesel price is Rs273.40 after the Rs19.90 increase. The new prices were due after July 31. In the recent past, Pakistan has been increasing fuel prices after every 15 days.
Over the past 15 days, Dar said that the rate of high-speed diesel was increased from $96.26 per barrel on July 16 jumped to $111.46 per barrel on July 31. Likewise, the petrol prices jumped from $89.14 per barrel to $97.39 per barrel.
He claimed that the made every attempt to provide relief to people on the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority recommendation. The finance czar blamed the “efforts to find some relief in fuel prices” for the delay in the announcement.
Dar quoted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as saying that the government has to do “whatever is better” for the people. “But we all know that our international commitments related to the petroleum development levy with the International Monetary Fund IMF,” Dar said while describing the factors for such a massive increase.
“We could have adjusted but we are in the IMF programme and everyone knows it’s a standby arrangement,” he said and mentioned the previous government’s decision which deviated from the international commitments and decreased the fuel prices.
The govt intended to provide relief to the people, according to Dar. He mentioned the Rs30 cut in petrol prices in the past. “But you know international price is not in our control. We did working to the last penny to leave no way by which we can decrease it or control it.”
Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday, trading near a three-month high reached on Monday, on signs of tightening global supply, as producers implement output cuts, and strong demand in the United States, the world’s biggest fuel consumer, Reuters reported.
Brent crude futures for October were at $85.25 a barrel at 0402 GMT, down 18 cents or 0.2% lower from its close. Front-month Brent settled at its highest since April 13 on Monday.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $81.64 a barrel, down 0.2% or 16 cents from the previous session’s settlement, which was its highest since April 14.