ISLAMABAD - The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) yesterday recommended 2.85 percent increase in the price of petrol and up to 15.55 percent decrease in the rates of other petroleum products, it was learnt reliably.

According to sources, Ogra has proposed an increase of Rs 2.17 per litre in the price of petrol for the month of January. However, for other petroleum products, the authority has recommended a downward revision.

According to a summary moved by the ministries of petroleum and finance, Ogra has suggested a decrease of 7.08 percent or Rs 5.93 per litre in the price of high speed diesel, 15.55 percent or Rs 8.29 per litre in the price of light diesel, 14.33 percent or Rs 8.07 in kerosene and 5.39 percent or Rs 4.35 per litre in that of high octane blended oil (HOBC).

The summary has been forwarded to both the ministries concerned while the new prices of petroleum products will be announced after approval from the prime minister. The new prices will be effective from January 1, 2016.

It is pertinent to mention here the government is charging up to 50 percent general sales tax (GST) on various petroleum products against the standard GST rate of 17 percent.

The government levied 25.5 percent GST on petrol in September, 26 percent in October, 22 percent in November and 24 percent in December.

Similarly, the 45 percent GST was levied on high speed diesel in September, 50 percent in October, 47.5 percent in November and 45.5 percent in December.

The government levied 30 percent GST on kerosene oil, each in September and October and 22 percent in November and December.

The government levied 29.5 percent GST on light diesel oil (LDO) each in September and October while 24 percent each was charged in November and December.

GST of 24 percent was charged on HOBC in September and October and was reduced to 16.5 percent in November and December.

Majority of former and serving energy and financial experts time and again advised the government to take advantage of the lower oil prices and pass on its benefit to the masses. “By reducing taxes on petroleum products, the government can kick off robust economic activities in the country,” these experts suggested. But the government is not ready to pass on the fruits of the lower prices to the masses.

As compared with its neighboring countries, Pakistan’s high speed diesel price is the highest in the region except Bangladesh while petrol prices are the lowest in the region except Afghanistan.

As of December 28, the HSD prices are lowest in Afghanistan $ 0.61, followed by Sri Lanka $ 0.66, India $ 0.74, Pakistan $ 0.81 and Bangladesh $0.82. As regards petrol, Afghanistan stands at the lowest level with the price of $ 0.65 per litre in the region followed by Pakistan $0.73, Sri Lanka $ 0.89, India $ 0.96 and Bangladesh $ 1.20.

The current prices of HSD are Rs 83.79 per litre, petrol Rs 76.26 per litre, HOBC Rs 80.66 per litre, kerosene Rs 56.32 and light diesel oil Rs 53.32 per litre.