POL prices - fresh wave of inflation gives the masses sleepless nights

POL prices - fresh wave of inflation gives the masses sleepless nights


POL prices - fresh wave of inflation gives the masses sleepless nights

By Zulaikha Tanveer

LAHORE - The masses were rudely awakened to a spike in the prices of petroleum products amid back-breaking inflation on Sunday.

The government, like all previous dispensations, has added fuel to the fire of inflation consuming the masses. The increase in the POL prices was expected but the quantum and the clandestine way in which it has been announced reeks of apathy, citizens complain.

The government didn’t even wait for the fortnight to complete and increased the prices in the dead of the night. It also failed to ensure availability of fuel days before it took the “tough decision”.

After the announcement the prices are:

High Speed Diesel -Rs262.80 per litre

Petrol - Rs249.80 per litre

Kerosene Oil - Rs189.83 per litre

Light Diesel Oil - Rs187 per litre

What led to another crushing increase in the POL product’s prices?

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday announced a whopping Rs35 a litre increase in the prices of petrol – a day after PML-N senior vice president Maryam Nawaz urged the nation to have faith in the financial czar’s capability to bring the country back from economic abyss.

Mr Dar said the incumbent government had been making utmost efforts to control the worsening financial conditions and also assured people of pulling the state out of these difficult times.

The reasons behind the increase may include:

Artificial shortages and hoarding of fuel

The finance minister explained that the increase in the prices was done on the recommendation of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) after it pointed out the reports of artificial shortages and hoarding of fuel in anticipation of increase in price.

Mr Dar said the price rise had been done immediately to tackle the said issue.

To complete the bailout plan

The decision to increase the prices of POL products coincides with arrival of an IMF team in the country to iron out the issues hindering approval of a bailout tranche.

Pakistan needs to complete the ninth review of a $7 billion IMF programme. The programme would lead to a disbursement of $1.2 billion and also open the gates to inflows from other countries.

The conditions imposed by the IMF include increasing prices of POL products and also raising more taxes.

Higher cost in global market

The Pakistani rupee’s value has drastically fallen against the US dollar since Thursday. This marks the largest depreciation in both absolute and percentage terms since the new exchange rate system was introduced in 1999.

Mr Dar mentioned the higher cost of buying energy in the global market.

“We will have to take the rise in international oil prices and the rupee into account,” he said.

Nation cries out for relief in prices

With the crushing increase in the POL prices, it has become thrice as difficult for people to survive the already challenging monetary circumstances.

Speaking to Dunya News, some people said the recent increase in the prices of petrol and diesel had left people high and dry.

“The poor are already suffering due to high inflation and unemployment; if it keeps on increasing like this, how can one survive,” said a local.

Many others shared how difficult it was to make both ends meet and feed their families.

Another person appeals to the government to think of the poor and have mercy on them by decreasing the prices.