Pakistan's caretaker government announced another hike in fuel prices causing fuel prices to rise to a historic high as the country grapples all-time high inflation. The Ministry of Finance on Friday night announced the price hike of petrol by Rs 26.02 and diesel by Rs 17.34 per litre following clearance from caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.
After the hike, petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) are costing over Rs 330 at the filling stations, "a psychological barrier that has been crossed for the first time in the country’s history," the Dawn newspaper wrote. The fuel price hike comes on the heels of over 27.4 per cent increase in the rate of inflation in August, putting an unbearable burden on the masses, as petrol and HSD are used by all private and public service vehicles.
“Owing to the increasing trend of petroleum prices in the international market, the government has decided to revise the existing consumer prices of petroleum products,” the ministry said. On September 1, the caretaker government had jacked up the petrol and diesel prices by over Rs 14.
The rise is on top of Rs 32.41 and Rs 38.49 per litre increase in petrol and HSD prices since August 15. The combined increase now works out at Rs 58.43 and Rs 55.83 per litre within one month. Petrol and diesel have become costlier by 20 per cent since the caretaker government took over in August.
No GST is charged on petroleum products but the government is charging Rs 60 per litre petroleum development levy (PDL) on petrol and Rs 50 each on HSD under the commitment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In July, the IMF transferred USD 1.2 billion to cash-strapped Pakistan, part of the USD 3 billion bailout programme for nine months to support the government's efforts to stabilise the country's ailing economy.
Pakistan’s economy has been in a free fall mode for the last many years, bringing untold pressure on the poor masses in the form of unchecked inflation, making it almost impossible for a vast number of people to make ends meet.
(With inputs from PTI)