ISLAMABAD - A considerable hike up to Rs4/litre in the prices of petroleum products is expected on September 1 in the wake of increase in the international market and the rate of the US dollar, reliable sources said on Friday.
The masses who are already bearing the brunt of skyrocketing prices of POL products, power tariff and gas prices, coupled with unscheduled long hours of power loadshedding in the country, will now find a tsunami of inflation in the market next month.
Interestingly, parliamentarians have registered their severe anger, coupled with serious concerns at various sessions of the upper and lower houses against gigantic hike in the prices of fuel and electricity approved by the incumbent regime. Similarly, several protest demonstrations were staged against hike in different areas of the country. But the government has so far not accepted the demands of the parliamentarians and the common man to withdraw POL, gas and power tariff hike and is continuously rubbing salt into the injuries of over-burdened 180million people of Pakistan.
The sources said a colossal hike in the prices of POL products is on the cards while the government, under monthly oil price review mechanism, is set to jack up the prices of POL products in line with the upward trend of international crude oil prices and due to increase in the rate of the US dollar against Pak rupee.
A senior official at the petroleum ministry, on the condition of anonymity, said miseries of inflation-stricken masses are likely to increase with the start of September. The estimation made so far by the Ogra about the future oil prices has revealed that per litre price of petrol is expected to go up by Rs 3 and high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs 2.40. Kerosene oil is likely to be increased up to Rs 3.15 while light diesel oil (LDO) could shoot up by Rs 1.80. And per-litre price of high-octane is expected to be raised by Rs 4 per litre.
At present, petrol is selling at Rs102/litre, high-speed diesel at Rs 109.76/litre, light diesel oil (LDO) at Rs 96.12/litre, Kerosene oil at Rs 101.28/litre while HOBC is available at Rs129.16/litre in the open market of the country.
The Ogra is set to dispatch its recommendations about the new oil prices on August 30 to the ministry of petroleum and natural resources for further process at its end.
The sources said POL prices might shoot further if the rate of inland freight equalization margin (IFEM) and petroleum levy is increased. They also said the oil marketing companies could seek more hike in POL prices during consultation process to be initiated by the Ogra for the determination of next month’s oil prices while the finance ministry is yet to decide about the rate of levies which are already imposed on POL prices.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), to protect the inflation-hit people of Pakistan from expected mammoth increase in the prices of petroleum products, could ask the government not to increase the POL prices in its summary. While the regulator can recommend reduction in the petroleum levy to maintain the POL prices at the existing level.
The finance ministry would on next Saturday (August 31) get approval from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on either raising or reducing the petroleum levy on the POL prices, sources added.