ISLAMABAD: Prices of petroleum products in Pakistan are still lower than in other regional countries, Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen said on Friday, defending the recent rise in prices of petroleum products.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, Tareen said that the government was receiving a petroleum levy of only Rs.
He said that Pakistan ranks 17th in the region in terms of petrol prices.
“Prices in the international market have risen recently, which is why the government is raising local prices,” he said.
The minister blamed the previous government for the difficulties facing the country today. “Pakistan has become a food importer over the last 30 years due to mismanagement. We are currently importing wheat, sugar and pulses.”
Shaukat Tareen said that Prime Minister Imran Khan stopped the ministry from increasing the levy because he wanted to reduce the burden on the people. “That’s why we want to subsidize the low-income group directly.”
He said that PTI government was making efforts to increase agricultural production.
The minister added that steps were being taken to control the prices of essential commodities. The Minister assured the nation that the price of ghee would come down to Rs. 300 per kg in six days.
Tareen lamented that the middle man makes huge profits when it comes to goods. He said that the administration was restoring the post of price magistrate to reduce inflation.
Appreciating the steps taken by the government to collect the tax, he said that the revenue has exceeded the target set by the Federal Board of Revenue. If the economy grows, its effects will be felt by the people.
The government is taking a comprehensive plan from the IMF.
Shaukat Tareen said the government was taking a major comprehensive plan for the International Monetary Fund.
I hope we will be heard in the IMF. Our revenue and power sector will be discussed.
Noting that revenue collection has increased by 40 per cent, he acknowledged that there are challenges in the power sector.
“Increasing electricity rates is not the answer,” he said.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman criticized the government for dropping “petrol bombs” on the people at a time of high inflation.
He said that petrol prices are now at Rs 127.3 per liter while international oil prices remained high due to the global financial crisis during the PPP government in 2013, yet domestic prices were nowhere near the tsunami.
“The PTI IMF is going against its promise: it does exactly what the IMF says, borrows like any government before and tells people that good days are here.”