The government on Thursday increased the prices of petroleum products by Rs30 per litre to strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an urgent basis, taking it to the record high at 209.86 PKR per litre.
The PML-N led coalition government increased the prices of petroleum products by the same amount on May 26, the biggest hike in the country’s history.
Meanwhile, National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has approved Rs8 per unit increase in electricity rates for the next fiscal year starting July 1.
According to a notification issued by NEPRA, the government has increased the basic tariff per unit of electricity by Rs7.91. The per-unit price has been increased from Rs16.91 to Rs24.82, which is a 47% hike in prices.
Speaking at a news conference, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced increase in the price of high-speed diesel to Rs204.15, and of light diesel oil (LDO) to Rs178.31.
Ismail said the decision will increase inflation but he could not let the country go bankrupt. Slamming the ‘wrong decisions’ of the previous government, the minister said the international prices of petroleum products were going up and the government was suffering about Rs120-130bn per month loss on subsidies, excluding taxes.
The finance minister said he was hopeful of reaching an agreement with the IMF in June, but noted that there were some reforms that the government still had to do. “The IMF wants to see our budget, so the reforms that we want to introduce will be introduced before the budget.”
He added that the subsidy or loss on petroleum products now would be reduced to about Rs25bn per month.
Reacting to the government’s decision to hike the prices of petroleum products, former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan urged people to take to the streets on Friday.
He asked masses to protest the government’s “anti-people policies of massive price hikes to crush the public and wreak economic havoc in the country”.
Imported govt has increased petroleum prices by 40% or Rs 60 per litre.This will increase burden on the public by Rs 900 bn & price hike in basic necessities. Plus, the Rs 8 increase in electricity price will put entire country into shock.Expect inflation by 30% highest in 75 yrs
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 2, 2022
In another tweet today, Khan said, “This afternoon I will be addressing a jalsa in Buner where I will be pointing out how Imported govt is a willing tool being used by US regime change conspirators, especially those foreign interests who want to cause economic chaos and hardship for our people & weaken the state of Pakistan.”
This afternoon I will be addressing a jalsa in Buner where I will be pointing out how Imported govt is a willing tool being used by US regime change conspirators, esp those foreign interests who want to cause economic chaos & hardship for our people & weaken the state of Pakistan
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 3, 2022
Meanwhile, Ameer Jamat-e-Islami Siraj ul Haq also criticised the government for the price hike, calling the decision “shameful.”
Taking to Twitter, he said “Another Rs30 increase in petrol and diesel prices is shameful. The government has crossed all limits of IMF’s slavery. Electricity, ghee, flour and sugar are being made expensive and the right to live is being taken away from the common man. The Jamaat-e-Islami will not stay silent and will launch an Awami Tehreek on June 11.”
After the government announced the hike, reactions poured in on social media while petrol stations were packed as people rushed to get their fuel tanks filled.
Reportedly, a petrol pump was vandalised near Sakhi Hassan Chowrangi area of Karachi.
*پیٹرول کی قیمتوں میں مسلسل اضافے کے بعد عوام میں شدید غم و غصہ کراچی کے علاقے سخی حسن چورنگی کے قریب واقعہ پیٹرول پمپ پر عوام کی توڑ پھوڑ ٹائر جلا کر روڈ کو بھی بلاک کردیا* pic.twitter.com/iM82XLKodk
— Asad Kharal (@AsadKharal) June 2, 2022
Social media users shared videos of the public raising slogans in the favour of former PM Imran Khan at petrol pumps in different cities of the country.
— Alamgir Khan (@AKFixit) June 2, 2022
On the other hand, Veteran journalist Mubashir Zaidi termed the price hike as the “mother of all bombs”, adding that the public would be “strangled” by it.
Mother of all bombs….petrol prices soar to Rs 209.86, Diesel 204.15. Awaam strangled
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) June 2, 2022
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said the price rise was “unacceptable and brutal”.
Rise in petroleum price is unacceptable and brutal.
— Mazhar Abbas (@MazharAbbasGEO) June 2, 2022