ISLAMABAD: After receiving widespread criticism from the general public, his party's supremo Nawaz Sharif and a strong coalition partner — PPP, for raising the prices of petroleum products at a time when the commodity’s rates are falling in the international market, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Tuesday defended his decision, saying, “I fully stand behind the government’s every decision.”
The government jacked up Monday night the price of petrol by Rs6.72 per litre for the next fortnight, taking it to 233.91 per litre, while the rate of diesel was also moved up to 244.44 per litre.
Addressing a press conference, the finance minister clarified that he had not stated that he would not be increasing the price of petroleum products.
"I had never said that I will not increase the price of petrol, I had stated that I will not be imposing taxes [on petroleum products] further," Miftah said.
"I stand behind every decision of the government with full responsibility," the finance minister said, noting that no economic decision was taken without his input.
He said the rupee has continuously been appreciating since the 1st of this month due to curbs imposed on imports of non-essential items.
The finance minister said the present government has averted default by taking difficult political decisions and a beginning has been made to put the economy on sound footing.
Criticizing the economic policies of the PTI government, Miftah Ismail said they left behind 10.3 billion dollars in foreign reserves and we have to return a loan of 21 billion dollars during the current fiscal year.
The minister said that a new letter of intent sent by the IMF will be signed by him today. He was confident that disbursements to Pakistan will start following the IMF's board meeting by the end of this month.
Responding to a question, the finance minister said that 27 billion rupees in taxes will be collected from the traders during the current fiscal year.
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"The finance ministry is awaiting the prime minister's directions," say sources