ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday announced major reduction in prices of petroleum products including cut of Rs 8.48 per litre in petrol, Rs 4.67 in high speed diesel, Rs 1.97 in light diesel and Rs 2.98 in high octane.

The prime minister, his office said, desired to reduce the burden of taxes on the masses by slashing the current rates of taxes, duties, excise duty and sales tax.

The prime minister also announced to maintain the price of kerosene oil by rejecting a proposal of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) for increasing the same by Rs 1.66 per litre.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a statement, claimed that Pakistan was the only country in the region which passed on the cut in petroleum prices to masses, whenever these went down in the international market.

Despite the deficit or shortfall in revenue, the government gave priority to the interest of masses and passed on every relief to them, he said.

The prime minister said no country in the region except Pakistan had reduced the prices of petroleum products to such an extent. The proposal of Ogra to augment the price of kerosene oil by Rs 1.66 per litre was also rejected by him because it was used by the poor.

Now the new price of petrol would be Rs 62.77 per litre and HSD Rs 71.12 per litre.

“It is our duty to serve the masses wholeheartedly and with full sincerity,” he remarked.

Besides cutting the price of electricity by Rs3 per unit, the prime minister added, the government had also succeeded in reducing load-shedding in the country during the last over two and a half years. He said as he had pledged that the load-shedding would Insha Allah(God willing) be completely eliminated by year 2018.