The government on Saturday left prices of petroleum products unchanged for June, except for kerosene oil, in a bid to provide relief to consumers just ahead of the announcement of 2014-15 budget early next week.
However, the price of kerosene oil was reduced in line with the drop in prices in the international market.
In a summary sent to the ministries of finance and petroleum, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) recommended that price of petrol should be increased by Rs1.31 per litre and that of high-speed diesel, used widely in heavy transport vehicles and agriculture sector, by Rs1.81.
It also suggested an increase of Rs1.01 per litre in the price of light diesel oil and a rise of Rs2.49 in the price of high octane blending component, which is used in luxury cars.
However, Ogra recommended that kerosene oil, a critical cooking fuel in remote areas where liquefied petroleum gas is not available, should be cheaper by Rs0.67 per litre.
After reviewing the summary, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued directives for keeping oil prices on hold for the month of June. To make up for the price difference, the government will provide a subsidy of Rs1.78 billion.
In June, petrol will cost Rs107.97 per litre, high-speed diesel Rs109.34, light diesel oil Rs94.13 and high octane blending component Rs134.63.
However, the price of kerosene oil has come down to Rs97.40 per litre compared to Rs98.07 in May, a decrease of Rs0.67.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called on Prime Minister Sharif and briefed him about Ogra’s recommendations regarding increase in prices of most of the petroleum products.
Dar spoke about the cumulative decrease in petroleum prices over the past three months and was of the view that the government’s economic policies, stabilisation of the rupee against the dollar and increase in the country’s foreign exchange reserves had aided the reduction in oil prices.
In response, the premier directed that prices of those oil products for which Ogra had suggested an increase should be left unchanged and kerosene oil price should be cut for the benefit of consumers.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.
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