ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government increased the price of petrol by Rs30 per liter in a bid to meet IMF bailout conditions, but unleashing, in the process, a wave of anger among people already struggling with inflation.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday night, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the new prices would go into effect at midnight (12:00 am) today.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he would address the nation on Friday about the change. He said he would speak about the economy.
The finance minister explained that the decision was taken in order to ensure the revival of the IMF programme.
The minister said that the government decided to increase the price of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, and light diesel by Rs30, from May 27.
After the increase in the prices of petroleum products, the new price of will be Rs 179.86, high-speed diesel Rs 174.15 per litre, kerosene oil Rs155.56, and the price of light diesel will be Rs148.31.
Ismail said the government had no other option but to raise the prices, adding that inflation would definitely witness an increase after the new prices of petroleum products.
“It is a hard decision for the government to impose such kind of burden on public,” the finance minister said adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had taken difficult decision in the larger interest of national economy.
He said the government was providing 56 rupees per liter subsidy on petroleum products as the previous government had fixed these prices which caused to increase inflation in the country.
The finance minister said that the PTI-led government had announced subsidies on petroleum products when his government’s tenure was coming to an end, adding that fuel and petrol subsidies were costing the country billions it could not pay.
The increase comes just a day after the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to reach an agreement on a financial bailout, with the IMF urging Pakistan to end subsidies on electricity and petroleum products to revive the programme.
Pakistan had hoped to get $900 million this time around as it has only enough dollars in the bank to pay for two months of imports.