Pakistan: Petrol, HSD Prices Reach Historic Highs
Pakistan’s caretaker government has announced another hike in the prices of petrol and diesel, taking them to over Rs 330 per litre for the first time in the country’s history. The move comes as the country struggles with double-digit inflation.
The Ministry of Finance announced the price hike on Friday night, following clearance from caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar. The hike of Rs 26.02 per litre for petrol and Rs 17.34 per litre for diesel will put an unbearable burden on the masses, as petrol and HSD are used by all private and public service vehicles.
The government justified the hike by citing the increasing trend of petroleum prices in the international market. However, the hike is also seen as a result of the government’s commitment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has provided a USD 3 billion bailout package to Pakistan. The IMF has required Pakistan to raise taxes and reduce subsidies in order to stabilize its economy.
The fuel price hike comes on the heels of over 27.4 per cent increase in the rate of inflation in August. The combined increase in petrol and HSD prices since August 15 now works out at Rs 58.43 and Rs 55.83 per litre, making it difficult for many people to make ends meet.
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 IMF.
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.
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