ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has rejected rise in gas tariff and declared that this week was nothing short of a nightmare for Pakistan as after causing the rupee to free fall to Rs150 against the dollar within 48 hours, another Ramazan package has been offered to the people in the form of a 47 percent gas tariff hike.
“We know that the government has failed in achieving its revenue targets and the FBR is moving towards a Rs450 billion shortfall, but why should the people bear the brunt,” said the PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman.
Sherry Rehman said decision to hike the gas tariff will have serious repercussions for the working class as well as business industry as such drastic price hikes are not sustainable.
She said the export sector will be crippled and the ease of doing business will further deteriorate and following the previous gas price increases of up to 143 percent under this government, coupled with gas shortages, multiple textile sectors closed down as operations became unsustainable. “We can expect worse this time as the overall outlook is gloomy by every indicator. The effects of this will be directly reflected in our trade deficit which is already over $26 billion,” she said.
“Look at the rate of food items, lemons are being sold for Rs400/kg; bananas for Rs150 per dozen and mutton is Rs1,100/kg -- facts don’t lie, with a country where half the population lives under the poverty line, people are quite literally starving but the government seems indifferent to these realities,” the PPP leader said.
Moreover, she said, the stock market is experiencing its worst week in 17 years.
“It has gone through a bloodbath spiralling down by 2.4 percent due to the tumbling rupee. But as usual, we will be told ‘ghabrana nahi hai’ (do not worry),” she continued.
Sherry Rehman questioned that what should a poor man to do as it is a real test of patience. She said the government is clearly not in the habit of saying ‘no’ to the IMF and at the same time, the rich are being rewarded with amnesty schemes.
“We hadn’t even come to terms with the recent Rs9 hike in petrol prices earlier this month and another bouncer has been hurled at us,” regretted Sherry Rehman.