ISLAMABAD - The government has kept unchanged prices of major petroleum products (POL), except petrol, for March while consumers of petrol and high-octane blending component (HOBC) would not find relief in line with declining trend of prices in international market.

Well-informed sources told TheNation on Friday that the government has increased the petroleum levy denying the consumers any benefit from the reduction of prices in the international market.

They said the PML-N government has approved just Rs2.73 per litre decrease in petrol price instead of expected Rs3.44, thereby depriving the consumers of petrol of a significant relief by setting aside the declining trend of POL prices through increasing GST and jacking up petroleum levy (PL) by 71paisa.

Similarly, price of HOBC was to witness a decrease of Rs3.02/litre but finance ministry increased the PL and GST on HOBC and kept the price unchanged to the dismay of consumers. According to petroleum ministry’s notification, new price of petrol would stand at Rs110.03/litre and HOBC at Rs142.54/litre during March following the approval of prime minister.

The sources said that the government would however maintain the prices of other POL products by providing subsidy. The price of Kerosene with 49paisa subsidy will remain at Rs106.76/litre; high-speed diesel (HSD), with 3paisa subsidy, at Rs116.75/litre; and light diesel oil (LDO), with 30paisa subsidy, would remain at Rs100.22 per litre.

“In order to maintain price stability in the country, the prime minister decided to maintain the existing prices except that of petrol where the benefit of decrease of Rs2.73 per litre is passed on to the consumers with effect from March 1, 2014,” said a press statement of finance ministry.

Yesterday afternoon, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed the premier that if the petroleum prices are maintained at the level of February 1, 2014 except for the petrol price, the subsidy to be picked up by Finance Ministry will be less than a billion rupees for the month of March 2014.