ISLAMABAD: Jacking up petroleum products’ prices by 10 per cent, the government on Monday dropped the price-hike bomb on masses that it was holding back for wooing allies besides opposition party PML-N.
The government had to withdraw the increase in petroleum products’ prices in January succumbing to the pressure of coalition partners and opposition parties alike. It also had held back the increase due in February in a bid to continue dialogue with the PML-N for national issues including economic decisions with utilities’ prices on top of them.
Now the government went ahead with its decision to pass on the increase in the International crude oil to the domestic consumers after the PML-N had parted its ways with the ruling PPP. Resultantly the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notified the new prices for the month of March.
The Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani chaired a high level meeting involving all stakeholders to decide the increase in petroleum prices.
According to sources, the prime minister was informed that the prices’ increase at the critical juncture of time with politics at its high volatility could lead to public protests and massive unrest.
However, the finance ministry was not to accept the proposal of further subsidising the domestic prices against the international tariffs. Thus, the prime minister had to accept the view from the finance ministry and finally gave go-ahead to the price adjustments.
According to notification issued by OGRA the new price of Petrol reached Rs 80.19 after increasing Rs 7.23. The price of HOBC reached Rs 95.225 by increasing Rs 8.58, the High Speed Diesel with the increase of Rs 7.76 now reached at Rs 86.09. The price of Diesel after increasing Rs6.60 has reached Rs 73.21.
The new prices would be implemented from March 1, 2011. The price of Kerosene oil now reached Rs 77.95 after increasing Rs 7
According to OGRA Spokesman the government would still have to subsidize the prices with an amount of Rs 5 billion per month even after the increase.
Earlier the government was facing a subsidy cost of Rs 13 billion per month since November 2010.