ISLAMABAD -  The government has decided to keep petroleum prices unchanged for two weeks during the month of January, 2017 in order to provide maximum relief to the common man, said Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Saturday.

While addressing a press conference, Dar said that the decision in this regard was taken on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a New Year gift to the people. He said the decision of not to raise the petroleum prices would cost some Rs4 billion.

The minister said that at the rate of 17 percent sale tax, the increase in the price of petrol was calculated at Rs1.77, kerosene oil at Rs14.31, light speed diesel oil at Rs10.11 and high speed diesel at Rs3.99. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had suggested price raise of Rs3.94 for high speed diesel, Rs6.93 for kerosene oil, Rs3.48 for light speed diesel and Rs0.31 for petrol, he added.

The minister said the prices of light diesel and kerosene oil, which were used by the common man, would remained unchanged for whole next month, while those of petrol and diesel would be reviewed after 15 days. He said the OGRA had suggested to fixe price of petrol for next month at Rs66.58, high speed diesel at Rs79.16, kerosene oil at Rs50.18 and light diesel oil at Rs46.82 per litre respectively.

The minister said increase of petroleum prices in the international market during the month of November was partially passed on to the people as the government absorbed the major chunk of the raise. Dar said during last six months the prices of petroleum products had not been increased and maximum relief was provided to the people.