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Monday July 04, 2022

Relief package: PM Shahbaz Sharif to address nation today

PM Shahbaz will take the nation into confidence over the difficult economic situation of the country

May 27, 2022
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The News/File
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The News/File 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will address the nation today and is expected to announce a relief package for the poor sections of the society, Geo News reported Friday.

According to sources, the prime minister in his address will take the nation into confidence over the difficult economic situation of the country while he will also shed light on the issue of subsidies on petroleum products.

The sources said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will apprise the nation on the future course of action of the government and he is also expected to announce a relief package.

It should be noted that the government has increased the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs30 to revive the $6 billion IMF loan program.

Pakistan and the IMF failed to strike a staff-level agreement after holding week-long negotiations because the government was reluctant to withdraw unfunded fuel and energy subsidies.

The IMF had asked the government to move “urgently” and after return from Doha, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail took the approval of the premier and announced an increase in POL prices.

Announcing the decision on Thursday, Miftah said increasing the price of petroleum products by Rs30 was not an easy decision for the premier, but vowed that the incumbent government would take steps to safeguard the economy.

‘Incompetent and insensitive’

Slamming the Shahbaz Sharif-led government for the hike in petrol prices, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that nation would “suffer another massive dose of inflation at the hands of this cabal of crooks”.

“Nation starting to pay price for imported government’s subservience before foreign masters with 20%/Rs30 per litre hike in petrol and diesel prices — the highest single price hike in our history,” said the PTI chairman.

Calling the incumbent government “incompetent and insensitive”, the former prime minister slammed them for not pursuing the deal the last government had signed with Russia for 30% cheaper oil.

“In contrast, India, a strategic ally of the US, has managed to reduce fuel prices by PKR 25/litre by buying cheaper oil from Russia. Now our nation will suffer another massive dose of inflation at the hands of this cabal of crooks,” said Imran Khan.

'A step in the right direction'

Meanwhile, Pakistan Business Council has supported the government on the matter and advised the authorities to reduce the workweek in order to cut the consumption of fuel.

“The decision to partially withdraw the general subsidy on fuel is belated but a step in the right direction to stem the pressure on the twin accounts. What about a conservation drive? Reduced work week, WFH? 1 day/week saves $167 M/month with no political fallout,” the PBC said in a Tweet.

“It would be appropriate to accompany the phasing out of general fuel subsidy with the introduction of targeted subsidy for the most deserving. That would limit any political fallout. Important that there are no U-turns from strengthening the solvency of the country.”