Finance Minister Miftah Ismail claimed on Thursday that the federal government incurs a loss of Rs102 billion monthly due to the current petroleum prices, stating that the terms of Imran Khan’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement stipulated a price of Rs245 per litre of petrol.
In conversation with the media in Karachi, the minister criticised the former premier’s policies, “the price of petrol should have been Rs245 per litre, but we will try to maintain the price of petrol and subsidise it as much as possible.”
Miftah added that the resultant loss incurred by the federal government requires having to borrow from the market, which in turn increases interest rates. “Pakistan is losing Rs70 billion on diesel alone and the monthly expenditure of the government is Rs45 billion,” he added.
However, the minister assured that the price of petroleum products will not increase in the short term, owing to the pressure it creates on the working class.
On April 26, Miftah Ismail announced that the government will devise a policy to increase petroleum prices, adding that the “elite class having big vehicles could not be given subsidy, however, those using less petrol such as motorcyclists will be given relief”.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has advised him that no economic pressure should be put on the common people,” he added.
However, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb subsequently announced that PM Shehbaz had rejected the summary for the increase in prices of petroleum products, accusing the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of ‘incompetence’ stating that citizens must not suffer due to the mistakes of the former government.
In a statement, Aurangzeb added that the government of ex-premier Imran acceded to the harsh conditions of the IMF and increased the prices of petroleum products in order to secure a loan from the financial watchdog.
“This government is making every possible effort to not further burden people already facing the brunt of high inflation,” the information minister added.