Divisions in PML-N's camp after fuel price hike

Miftah says 'no new' levy or tax added

NEWSDESK   August 16, 2022

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said party supremo Nawaz Sharif “strongly opposed” the government’s decision to raise petroleum prices.

In a tweet, Maryam said that Nawaz walked out of a meeting after saying that he “cannot even burden the people with another penny” and that “if the government’s hands are tied, then I [Nawaz Sharif], am not party to this decision.

Responding to a journalist’s tweet that questioned the government on the price increase while oil prices had dropped in the international market, Maryam also distanced herself from the decision saying that she “stands with the people” and “cannot support this decision”.

On Monday night, the government increased the price of petrol by Rs6.72 per litre and reduced that of high speed diesel (HSD) by Rs0.51 and kerosene oil by Rs1.67 per litre effective from August 16 (today).

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail also engaged with a senior journalist on social media regarding the latest hike.

The exchange began with the journalist taunting the minister for having incorrectly predicted that the prices would not rise. “Why are you always proven wrong?” he questioned, to which Ismail responded by saying that “we have not imposed even one rupee of a new tax on petroleum products”.

The fluctuations in prices “are only due to PSO [Pakistan State Oil] purchases”, he added.

The senior journalist replied back with “a simple question”, asking why the government decided to raise prices when they had dropped in the international market.

The finance minister then proceeded to offer a “brief explanation on how petroleum prices are set” in a series of tweets.

“OGRA [Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority] takes the average of Platt prices, adds freight and premium paid by PSO on top of these prices, and multiplies that by the exchange rate. In addition it also ‘trues up’ the previous fortnight’s cost by taking into account the rupees paid by PSO at the actual exchange rate as opposed to the average used to estimate the previous fortnight’s cost,” he said.

“We have not added any new tax or levy to the price. The price of petrol has gone up (and diesel has gone down) because the cost paid by PSO in the previous fortnight was more than the cost estimated by OGRA and also because the premium paid by PSO on petrol increased and premium paid on diesel remained unchanged,” added Ismail.

“Again, not one paisa of new taxes or levies was added,” he reiterated.

In the past, the sharp devaluation of the rupee against the dollar had also been a major factor in determining oil prices.

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