ISLAMABAD: With no competent authority in place following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification, consumers have been deprived of relief in oil prices as the government on Monday decided to keep oil prices unchanged.
In a short statement, spokesperson of the Finance Division said that considering the special circumstances, rates of petroleum products would be maintained at the existing level till a decision by the competent authority.
Officials said that finance division had moved a summary to the law division for an advice whether the president could give an approval of revision in oil prices in absence of the prime minister and the federal cabinet.
In reply, the law division said that the president could accord approval but failing to get an approval in the short time, the finance ministry announced to continue with the existing prices.
In the past, the prime minister had been giving approvals to oil price revisions. But following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the apex court, finance ministry was confused as to which authority to turn to for the final nod.
Oil consumers were expected to get a reasonable relief in August as the industry regulator has suggested a reduction of 6.3 per cent in prices of petroleum products in line with the global market trend.
The cut in prices has been proposed in petrol and diesel which are in major use of consumers. However, the regulator has proposed an increase in prices of kerosene oil and light diesel oil up to 29.5 per cent.
In a summary sent by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to the ministries of petroleum and finance, the regulator proposed that prices of petrol and diesel should be slashed from August.
According to the Ogra summary, consumers of high-speed diesel, which is mostly used in transport vehicles and the agriculture sector, was proposed to be cheaper by Rs5.07 per litre (6.3 per cent). Apart from farmers and transporters, this price reduction could have a favourable effect on the rate of inflation in the country. The price of high speed diesel has been maintained at level of Rs79.90 per litre.
Petrol price was proposed to fall by Rs3.67 (5.1 per cent) to Rs67.63 per litre compared to the current Rs71.30 per litre. It has been maintained at Rs71.30 per litre.
Kerosene oil, which is used for cooking purposes in remote areas where liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is not easily available, was to be hiked by Rs13 per litre (29.5 per cent), standing at Rs57 against existing price of Rs44. It has been maintained at existing level of Rs44 per litre. The price of light diesel oil, consumed mainly by industrial units, was proposed to be increased by Rs10.01 per litre (22.8 per cent), reaching Rs54.01 compared to the current Rs44 per litre. It has also been maintained at existing level of Rs44 per litre.
Official said there was zero general sales tax and petroleum levy on kerosene oil and light diesel oil. However, the calculation of Ogra was based on budgeted general sales tax and petroleum levy which resulted in hike in prices of these two products.