People in Pakistan woke up on Thursday to the shock of a historical high in the prices of petrol and gas as the government tried to appease the IMF for unlocking the critical loan tranche for the cash-strapped country.
This comes hours after the government unveiled a tax-loaded ‘mini-budget’ in the Parliament to extract Rs 170 billion from the people through new taxes and an increase in electricity and gas prices.
The price of petrol spiked to Rs 272 per litre after an increase of Rs 22.20, noting that the surge occurred due to the rupee’s devaluation against the dollar.
The price increase is due to a devaluation of the Pakistani rupee applicable for the calculation of the current pricing period, and the prices will be effective on February 16.
The increase came as finance minister Ishaq Dar introduced a money bill in parliament to meet the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demand that revenue be increased before it releases USD 1.1 billion of the USD 7 billion loans.
The price of high-speed diesel (HSD) increased by Rs 17.20, kerosene increased by Rs 12.90, and light diesel oil (LDO) increased by Rs 9.68. The new HSD price will be Rs 280 per litre. Kerosene will cost Rs 202.73 per litre, while LDO will cost Rs 196.68 per litre.
The increase in the price of petroleum products was one of the preconditions of the Washington-based lender, which will lead to a hike in the already record-high inflation, coupled with the new fiscal measures undertaken through the ‘mini-budget’.
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