ISLAMABAD: Petrol prices have been reduced by 9.43 rupees per litre to provide relief to public, the prime minister announced on Friday while addressing the special meeting of Cabinet in Islamabad.
During the meeting, the premier announced the reduction in the petroleum prices. Hi-Octane users were the biggest beneficiary of the decision as the price of Hi-Octane has been slashed by Rs14.83 per litre to Rs116.45. After the reduction of Rs9.43 per litre, the price of petrol has been lowered to Rs94.16 per litre from previous rate of Rs103.59 per litre. The prices of Diesel and Kerosene Oil have been decreased by Rs6.18 and Rs8.16 to Rs101.12 and Rs 87.52, respectively.
The prime minister said the government is drastically reducing petroleum prices despite sit-ins and protests causing huge losses to the national economy.
"The government is committed to bring economic change in the country and provide relief to the people," said the PM, adding that the country was moving towards economic stability, but sit-ins and protests had disrupted the development process.
The Cabinet was told that two audit firms were hired to probe over-billing in terms of electricity bills. In its initial reports the firm had pointed towards 31 per cent increase in billing, 22 per cent due to tariff increase last year and nine per cent due to increase in consumption.
Secretary Water and Power proposed that the consumers which were using 300-500 units may be given a subsidy of Rs22 billion.
The PM in this regard instructed to constitute a committee to provide immediate relief to the effectees. The committee will comprise Minister Water and Power, Minister for Petroleum, Minister for Interior, Secretary Ministry for Water and Power, and will be headed by Minister for Finance.
Distribution companies, which install electricity meters, had allegedly put up meters which functioned at a fast pace, hence increasing electricity costs. However, power companies were reportedly not aware of this issue.
As per government policy, meter readings for July should be taken again and additional money should be repaid to the consumers.
Commenting on the current economical state of the country, the PM said that there has been a halt in economic growth which Pakistan had begun to experience prior to the sit-in in the capital.
"The country would have been in a much better state economically. However, there are those who have been a hindrance to the country's growth and development," the PM said, while rejecting all rigging allegations made by protesters in Islamabad.
He attributed a good economy to reduced poverty, better streets, better projects and dams, and new motorways.
The premier stood firm in his stance that any given government should serve their five year term before the next government comes into power.
"If we finish our five year term, we will work on improving and building a better Pakistan. We will then be able to give the next government a more stable Pakistan to build and grow further," the PM explained.
The PM expressed regret about the Chinese president postponing his visit to Pakistan and added that this has extended to the president of Maldives as well and Sri Lanka.
"Investors no longer want to come to Pakistan and the value of the rupee is declining," the PM said regrettably.
PM Nawaz concluded by touching upon petrol prices and urged the chief ministers of all provinces to focus on reducing transport costs so that the public could reap the benefits of lower costs.
137 oil wells spudded in the past year
Briefing the meeting, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in the last year 37 new oil and gas discoveries have been made. The minister stated that the Petroleum policy 2012 has been implemented adding that 44 new exploration agreements have already been signed.
Abbasi stated that 137 oil wells had been spudded in the past year in contrast to the 370 wells spudded during the previous regime.
He further claimed that oil production has reached 98,980 BBL/day, which is the highest ever in the history of the country. He added that the ministry of petroleum is providing additional gas to Fertilizer sector which had an impact of Rs30 billion.
Counting SSGC 400 MMCFD LNG terminal as an achievement of his ministry, Abbasi said the terminal would start working February onwards. The LNG terminal would provide LNG to IPPs which would generate 2500 MW electricity, the minister added.
The meeting was informed that Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) has been implemented. It was also revealed during the meeting Gas theft (Control and Recovery) Act has also been promulgated which would help save gas and generate revenue.
Prime Minister appreciated the 1000 MW Gas field on-site power generation policy. Abbasi also apprised the cabinet of the challenges faced by the ministry in the next 3 years, which were, implementation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines project, implementation of TAPI pipeline, implementation of South-North gas pipeline project, unbundling of SNGPL and SSGC, reduction of un-accounted for gas to 7 %.
Bus drivers refuse to reduce shares
After the premier announced that petrol prices will be reduced, the Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) said that they will not reduce their fares until diesel prices aren’t brought down to Rs93.
The premier stated that only petroleum prices will be reduced, whereas roughly 90% of the public transport in Karachi is run on CNG and diesel. Hence, the KTI has decided not to reduce their fares.