Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a Rs18.50 per litre reduction in the per litre price of petorl as part of much promised relief. Petrol will now be available at Rs230.24.
In an address to the nation broadcast on state media on Thursday, he also announced a Rs40.54 per litre decrease in diesel prices. The rates go into effect from July 15, bringing down the price from Rs276.54 to Rs235.95
In his address, the premier said that after coming to power, the government had increased the price of petrol to meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the time of Imran Khan’s ouster, petrol was Rs149.86 per litre while diesel was at Rs144.15. The PML-N led coalition government’s measures - in line with IMF conditions - resulted in multiple fuel price hikes.
PM Shehbaz blamed the PTI government, saying its decision to slash prices during its final few weeks put more pressure on the country already running out of reserves. “The previous government trampled on the agreement it had with the IMF and laid [economic] landmines for us,” he said.
He said that he took the decision to raise prices ’‘with a heavy heart’ and due to rising oil prices in international markets.
He acknowledged the recent reduction in oil prices in global markets, which he said allowed the government to follow suit. He promised to pass on the benefits of any future increase in global oil prices to the masses as well.
Oil prices fell on Thursday as investors focused on the prospect of a large US rate hike that could stem inflation but at the same time hit oil demand. Brent crude futures for September were down $1.86 cents to $97.71 a barrel at 1016 GMT after settling below $100 for a second straight session on Wednesday. US West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery was at $94.01 a barrel, down $2.29 cents.
He singled out Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and his team for the successful revival of the loan facility with the IMF, adding that he hoped it would be the last such deal with the global lender.
Earlier on Thursday, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the government will slash domestic petrol prices before midnight, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had received a summary from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) recommending the cut.
Speaking to the media, he stressed that the IMF had no objections to the government’s move.