Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to keep the prices of all petroleum products unchanged for the next half of February, despite OGRA asking for a price hike.
OGRA had forwarded a summary to the prime minister earlier, asking for an increase of Rs14.07 per litre in the price of petrol and Rs13.61 per litre in the price of high-speed diesel. It had also recommended an increase in the price of kerosene oil by Rs10.79 per litre.
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These recommendations were put forward keeping in mind the global rise in the prices of petroleum products. The Federal Government, however, adjusted the increase by revising rate of ex-factory and the petroleum levy (PL).
Acting in accordance with the government’s guidelines, OGRA had applied the method to determine the POL prices at a higher side of the tax bracket through which it was sending inflated figures of the proposed oil prices to the government. This helped the government in passing on the actual increase in the global POL prices to consumers in the recent months.
The present government is also charging 17 percent general sales tax (GST) on petroleum products. Ogra had proposed the current increase keeping in mind the GST and budgeted rate of petroleum levy.
During the last two-and-a-half months, the government had increased the price of petrol by Rs11.21 per litre, HSD Rs14.64, SKO Rs14.90, and LDO Rs16.37 per litre and in February alone, the price of petrol went up by Rs2.70 per litre and the price of high-speed diesel went up by Rs22.11.
However, this time PM Khan prioritized public welfare and rejected OGRA’s proposal of jacking up the prices of petroleum products.
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PM Khan faced resistance from the masses and the opposition alike when he approved an increase in the cost of the petroleum products for the third time in 31 days last month.
PPP stood up against the government’s decision and demanded for the price hike to be reversed. The recent increase in the prices of petroleum products is unacceptable as it would burden the poor who are already suffering due rise in gas and electricity tariffs, said PPP Secretary General Nayyer Hussain Bokhari. He said that the government increases petrol prices every fortnight which is baffling. The only agenda of the current government is to make the lives of the poor people miserable instead of providing them relief, he added.
The increase in petroleum prices was also challenged in Lahore High Court (LHC). A writ petition was filed in the court to declare the government’s move to increase fuel prices as illegal. The petition stated that the poor man who is already bearing the brunt of rising inflation is being burdened even more.