Islamabad: Petrol prices in Pakistan have hit the highest level in a further blow to consumers hit by rising inflation that poses serious challenges to the PTI government.
The officials on Friday increased the price of petrol by Rs8.03 per litre. The average daily price for a litre of petrol reached Rs145.82 per litre on November 5 from the previous Rs137.79, according to a notification from the finance ministry. Petrol is the most commonly used transportation fuel in Pakistan.
The price of high-speed diesel (HSD) is now Rs142.62 per litre from the previous Rs134.48. The price hike would mainly impact the transport and agriculture sector, the major users of HSD.
The price of kerosene has been increased from Rs110.26 to Rs116.53 while the rate of light diesel oil (LDO) has hiked to Rs114.07 per litre from Rs108.26. The LDO is used by the industries while kerosene oil is used by some households in rural areas for cooking and heating.
“This is the first time in the country’s history that prices of all petroleum products have soared above Rs110 per litre” according to the local media.
Second hike in two months
This is the second time in two months that oil prices have increased. On October 16, the government raised the price of petrol by Rs10.49 per litre and that of high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs12.44 per litre. The official notification justified the increase saying that oil prices in the international market had surged to $85 a barrel which was the highest since October 2018.
Government blames global surge in oil price
Pakistani premier earlier rejected the suggested hike by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and the Finance Division but later said there was no option but to increase the prices to a reasonable level. The government said that it had “absorbed the bulk of pressure after making adjustments in the sales tax and petroleum levy” to offer “maximum relief to the consumers.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan hinted at the increase in the fuel prices in his recent speech in which he said that most of the oil importer countries such as Pakistan are feeling the impact of the rising global oil prices. His government is compelled to in-crease the oil price to control the deficit otherwise the country would be forced into an-other debt.
The opposition members have strongly criticized the PTI government for increasing the prices of petroleum products. Opposition leader in National Assembly and PML-N Pres-ident Shehbaz Sharif described the hike as “petrol bomb exploded on masses” and al-so blamed the ruling PTI for rising inflation and unemployment. Another major opposi-tion party PPP has demanded an immediate reduction in the prices. PPP Vice Presi-dent Sherry Rehman slammed the record hike in prices of all petroleum products.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Bahramand Tangi chose to protest in a unique manner by cycling to parliament from parliament lodges, asking the people to raise their voices against the price hike.
On Friday, oil prices rose after Opec+ producers ignored the calls from the US to raise supply to bring the prices down. “The current demand-supply mismatch has pushed oil prices above $80 per barrel [for] Brent for more than a month, which has been a short-term boon for OPEC+ producers but pain for consumers, in particular countries worried about inflation and post-pandemic economic growth,” Louise Dick-son, a senior oil markets analyst at Rystad, shared in a statement.