A sudden and unexpected increase in fuel prices was announced by the government on Friday, going against all norms in the process. By not waiting for the month to end or taking the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (OGRA) opinion on the issue, the government has decided to break from tradition, and in the process taken back the measures it claimed were put in place to provide relief to the public, after only 26 days. It is very strange that these procedures are being flouted especially when the government itself identified the need to decrease these prices. Does the general public not require the relief that was promised by the state?

Alongside this, LPG saw an increase in its price for the second time this week, with a total increase of Rs15. Why is the government instituting policies and reversing them? The economy is already in a precarious situation, this constant back and forth will only increase volatility, when we ought to be heading for stability.

As of yesterday, fuel prices were raised from 20 percent to as much as 66 percent depending on the fuel type. Most of June was spent with a fuel shortage in several areas of the country including major cities. Debates were carried out over whether the scarcity was a case of mismanagement or deliberate on part of either OMCs or petrol pumps as a pressure tactic.

With a court striking down the petition of OMCs to scrap the government’s body to investigate the fuel crisis, the intentions of these large companies do not seem altogether genuine. If hoarding was not the reason behind the shortage, why is there this hesitance to be open to scrutiny? Regardless, oil marketing companies and fuel station retailers will no doubt be overjoyed by the government’s decision, even if the judgement in court did not go their way.

The general public is less than ecstatic with this decision. People naturally feel cheated – the fuel shortage ended up being more damaging than the actual fuel prices, and just when we are supposed to be heading towards normalcy in the supply lines, the prices are back at the higher thresholds. The people must look elsewhere, the relief they sought in reduced fuel prices was nowhere to be found.