Historic high!

petrol pricesISLAMABAD: Without showing any mercy to the people already cornered by inflation and economic instability, the government apathetically passed on the full impact of rising international oil prices to the consumers on Tuesday by raising POL prices to a record high, an increase of 3 to 6 percent accompanied by a 10 percent increase in cess on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) with effect from February 1 (today).

According to a notification from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), the price of petrol has been increased by Rs 5.37 per litre to Rs 94.91 per litre, High Octane Blended Component (HOBC) by Rs 6.29 to Rs 118.20 per litre, High Speed Diesel (HSD) by Rs 4.64 to Rs 103.46 per litre, Light Diesel Oil (LDO) by Rs 3.43 to Rs 90.21 per litre and Super Kerosene Oil (SKO) by Rs 2.78 to Rs 92.02 per litre. Another notification issued by OGRA said CNG prices in Region I (comprising Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Potohar including Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Gujjar Khan) had been increased by Rs 0.71 to Rs 74.29 per kg, and in Region II (comprising Sindh and Punjab) by Rs 0.36 to Rs 69.60 per kg. The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) condemned the increase in gas cess.

An official source said OGRA had recommended adjusting the increase in POL prices by lowering the petroleum levy (PL), as consumers were also paying GST on fuel. The Petroleum Ministry also supported OGRA’s recommendation, but the Finance Ministry rejected it nonetheless. Earlier, at the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum, Petroleum Secretary Ejaz Chaudhary made a spirited defence of Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain for giving a before-time statement on increase in POL prices, which parliamentarians had criticised as a cue for hoarders to stock supplies.

However, the secretary said the people in the business were well aware of the situation as they monitored the international oil prices on a daily basis and the impact could easily be calculated online. He said that the ministry was working on a formula to bring price parity in various fuel prices to end the excessive demand for gas. He said the prices of fuels could be brought at par with each other by reducing the PL. – PT