Saturday August 20, 2022

Petrol gets cheaper, diesel pricier

Following the changes in the prices, petrol will now be sold at Rs227.19 per litre.

By News Desk
August 01, 2022
Petrol gets cheaper, diesel pricier

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Sunday slashed the petrol price by Rs3.05 per litre and hiked the diesel price by Rs8.95 per litre, doubling the petroleum levy on all products.

Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail made the announcement, claiming petrol price cut would provide relief to the public. Taking to his Twitter handle, he wrote that the new prices would become effective from midnight on Sunday.

Following the changes in the prices, petrol will now be sold at Rs227.19 per litre. Previously, petrol was being sold for Rs230.34 per litre. Meanwhile, there has been an increase of Rs8.95 in the price of high-speed diesel, after which the new price will be Rs244.95 per litre.

On the other hand, kerosene oil, which was previously available for Rs196.45 per litre, will now be sold for Rs201.07 per litre, following an increase of Rs4.62 per litre. Light diesel oil registered a slight decrease of Rs0.12, after which it will be sold for Rs191.32 per litre as against the previous rate of Rs191.44 per litre.

The government had decided to revise the existing prices of petroleum products to pass on the impact of fluctuations in petroleum prices in the international market and exchange rate variation, according to a press release, the Finance Division said. Earlier, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Sunday announced relief in tax for shopkeepers who consume less than 150 units of electricity per month, reported a private news channel.

Addressing a press conference, Ismail said the government was seeking annual tax of Rs36,000 from small shopkeepers and stressed that everyone would have to pay taxes. “Industries as well as bankers would also have to pay taxes,” he said.

The finance minister said that another tax will come into force from the next year. “Ten pct tax will be imposed on companies that would not be able to export 10 percent of their output,” he said. He also said that the rupee, which is rapidly depreciating against dollar in recent weeks, would see an improvement in the next two to three weeks.

After facing opposition from traders related to the collection of taxes via electricity bills and requests from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced certain measures to satisfy the small retailers, reported Geo News.

“The prime minister has also called me and instructed me to ensure that small traders are completely satisfied with the new tax law. This I shall do tomorrow,” tweeted the minister. The finance minister said, “We will charge Rs3,000 even from those shopkeepers who are not registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The tax paid will be full and final. No tax notice will be issued to shops nor will FBR officers will visit their shops,” tweeted the finance minister. The minister said that appointment of governor of State Bank (SBP) will be made next week.

Ismail was responding to a tweet by PMLN leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif who had asked him to “withdraw tax on electricity bill” as businessmen were worried and complaining. Soon after the tweet, Maryam said that she had spoken to the finance minister who had assured him that he would sit with the traders tomorrow (Monday) and find a solution.

“Just spoke to Miftah Ismail, he assured me that he will sit with the traders tomorrow and find a solution to their complete satisfaction,” she tweeted. The government in the budget for the current fiscal year had decided to deduct tax through electricity bills from small shopkeepers or retailers across the country to bring the sector under the tax net. The budget document showed that fixed income and sales tax regimes of Rs3,000 to Rs10,000 have been imposed on the small retailers to bring them into the tax net. However, traders across the country have staged protests and refused to pay the tax.

Meanwhile, Miftah Ismail on Sunday said the government was currently trying to reduce the trade deficit to stabilise the rupee against the dollar. He said that for the last three months, efforts had been made to reduce imports and the results were now coming out. Imports in July reached $5 billion dollars, which was 7.7 billion dollars in the previous month of June 2022.

Miftah Ismail expressed these views while addressing a press conference along with Prime Minister’s Coordinator on Economy Bilal Azhar Kayani. Thus, compared to the previous month, imports decreased by $2.7 billion dollars during the month of July 2022, he said. The minister said that these economic measures of the government will stabilise the value of the rupee against the dollar.

Miftah said that some imports, including mobile phones, vehicles and home appliances, are still banned. These measures are aimed to reduce the trade deficit in the country’s economy, which will bring economic stability to the country, he said.

He expressed the hope that the current account deficit will be reduced this year. “We are not working on the rate of inflation but on getting the country out of economic challenges.” The minister said that now the full focus of the government is on increasing domestic exports, which will be given full attention in the next three months.

He said, “We are trying our level best to build the economy in the right direction, in which, we are getting success to a great extent.” The minister said that the former government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has played a role in bringing the economy to this state of affairs. He said former prime minister Imran Khan was responsible for this. “Due to his wrong economic policies, the economy has reached at this point.” He said the former PTI government has increased the budget deficit every year due to which the economy was suffering today.

Miftah said the previous government did not make any economic reforms but only made everything look good on the media. He said that Imran Khan has destroyed every department and proved his incompetence. He said the PTI government did not fulfil the promise of five million houses. The minister said the previous government increased the circular debt to Rs1,400 billion in the energy sector alone. He demanded court to hear foreign funding case against PTI soon.

Earlier this week, the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee, Islamabad, rejected the fixed sales tax on electricity bills and demanded its withdrawal.

Ajmal Baloch, the president of the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee, Islamabad, in a press conference on Thursday, along with officials from all markets in the federal capital, demanded removal of Ismail and said: “No electricity bills containing fixed sales tax would be paid, and if Wapda or any power supply company tried to remove the electricity meter, traders would launch a protest movement.” Baloch said Ismail “lied on the floor of the assembly for which he should not only be removed from office but also banned”.