Tuesday November 30, 2021

Crude awakening

October 23, 2021

In post-pandemic times, the world faces yet another global dilemma – a scarcity of energy resources. Covid-19 brought most human activities to a standstill. At the peak of the Covid-19 chaos, a single barrel of oil cost as lows as to be in negatives. Eventually, as people adjusted to the post-pandemic world, there was an unpredictable and unprecedented demand of energy resources. Resultantly, prices skyrocketed. One barrel of oil rose from $35 to over $80. Where does Pakistan stand amid all this? Pakistan imports most of its energy resources which run the entire country. Each year, Pakistan has to import huge quantities of crude oil to meet its demands. So, there is no denying that the price hike in Pakistan is a direct consequence of global crises.

But to say so would be simplistic at best. The current price of one barrel oil is around $85. Each barrel consists of approximately 158 litres of oil. Basic math shows that the international price of oil is around Rs92 per litre, which is indeed costly. Even if the government imposes the pertinent taxes on oil, the current rate is unjustifiable. Besides, the incumbent prime minister proclaimed during his election campaign that unjustifiable price hikes were a direct result of corrupt public officers. What is the cause now? The economy relies on oil, since all the businesses require it. The government must keep the price affordable for all. Pakistan needs to become proactive in its policy. Such crises are alarming and should serve to awaken the dormant reactive policymakers to focus on making Pakistan self-sufficient in energy resources.

Muhammad Sharif Otho