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Monday, December 4, 2023

No evidence of PTI’s cheaper oil deals with Russia: Musadik Malik

The Minister says no document on record proves PTI’s claims of 30 per cent cheaper oil and LNG import deals with Russia.

Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Friday said that no document on record proves PTI’s claims of 30 per cent cheaper oil and LNG import deals with Russia.

Speaking at a news conference, Malik said, former Petroleum Minister Hammad Azhar had written a letter to the Russian Minister showing interest in purchasing oil and gas from Russia.

But the former government had not received any response from the other side. We have checked it through our ambassador in Russia.

Read more: India buying cheap Russian oil: Why can’t Pakistan?

The Minister also said PTI was spreading disinformation about lower Indian oil prices following the Russian deal.

Malik said even after the price increase, Pakistan’s petrol price stood at Rs180 per litre against India’s Rs250 per litre. He implied that even the most recent prices in Pakistan are significantly lower than those in India.

He added that India had only reduced excise duty on prices of petroleum products, and the GST (its counterpart tax in Pakistan) was already zero.

Hike in power tariff to follow fuel price adjustment: Malik

Furthermore, the Minister warned that an increase in electricity tariff would follow fuel price adjustment through the withdrawal of subsidies to comply with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions.

Praising Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail for ‘skillfully finalising conditions with the IMF,’ Malik said the borrowed money could not be doled out to the rich.

The Minister said his government had prepared a strategy to save the poor from the negative effects of the recent hike in petroleum prices.

He said Pakistan has committed to ending global subsidies that are equally available to the rich and the poor.

He said because of poor economic policies and mismanagement coupled with external factors over the past four years, four out of six families had an income range of Rs25,000-30,000 per month.

Malik said former premier Imran Khan reduced petroleum prices and froze them without deliberation with the Economic Coordination Committee for four months when it became clear to him that his government was over.

The Minister said the government’s decision to increase petroleum prices had revived market confidence, and the rupee gained Rs2 against the dollar, and the stock market recovered.

Read more: PM Imran Khan praises India for foreign policy in a rare incident

Can import Russian oil if it’s in interest: FO

At a regular press briefing on Friday, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar implied that Pakistan could import oil and food products from Russia if it sees profit, saying that Pakistan has an “open policy” driven by national interest.

He said, “Our policy is clear, you know in terms of expanding economic and trade relations, we have an open policy, driven by national interest. Wherever we see there is national benefit, we pursue those options and avenues.”