Govt adds fuel to nation’s misery
ISLAMABAD: The petroleum ministry added fuel to the fire raging in the country, especially in Punjab and Karachi, when it announced a massive hike in oil prices on Saturday, setting aside recommendations made by the regulator. The hefty rises took prices of all the major fuel items above the Rs100 mark.
The revised price of petrol for April will be Rs105.68 — an increase of Rs8.02 per litre.
After the decision by the petroleum ministry, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has notified the new prices. However, an official of the petroleum ministry told Dawn that the prices of petroleum products had been increased in line with international trends.
The price of high speed diesel (HSD), the most widely consumed petroleum fuel, was raised by Rs4.70 per litre to Rs108.16 and the HOBC price was jacked up to Rs135.81 — an increase of Rs8.94 per litre.
The special committee formed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Feb 29 had decided to keep diesel (HSD) rates unchanged till June, but the petroleum ministry ignored even that decision.
Kerosene, regarded as the poor man’s fuel, will now cost Rs 101.69 — a Hike of Rs 5.29.
The price of Light Diesel Oil (LDO), a fuel mainly used in certain pumps used for operating tube-wells and other machines, went up to Rs 98.74 per litre from Rs 93.29.
The price increase will also have a severe financial impact on the aviation industry, including the army aviation and the air force.
The price of JP-1 was increased by Rs2.89 to Rs 90.79 per litre and that of JP-8 will be Rs90.49 per litre _ an increase of Rs3.73.
Sources in the petroleum ministry confirmed Ogra had recommended that the current increase in prices of petrol, kerosene and LDO be adjusted in the petroleum levy because the impact of not increasing the rates of these products will be no more than Rs3.25 billion on the national kitty.
Meanwhile, an official of the FBR confirmed that the government would be earning Rs7 billion in terms of petroleum levy for April and collections in terms of GST on petroleum fuel would be Rs18 billion. During the current fiscal year the petroleum sector remained the leading contributor in the overall tax collection by the FBR and its share has been 43 per cent in total GST collection.