‘POL prices linked to global market’


-Information Minister says increase in income and jobs are the solution to inflation
-Stresses on need for private sector to increase salaries of employees
-Adds nation will face difficulties together
-Opposition launches campaign against growing inflation in country

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: Reacting to the widespread condemnation and criticism of the government over the recent major increase in the prices of petroleum products, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the entire country could not be run on subsidies.
In a statement, Fawad Chaudhry said that the fuel rates were raised due to an increase in international market prices. The oil prices in the country are linked with international prices, he said, explaining that the prices will fall in the country when the commodity’s rates will decrease in the world market.
“These economic difficulties are temporary,” he added. The information minister said that the nation will face the difficulties together.
“The government is being criticised over the oil price hike as if we live on a separate planet,” said the information minister.
Admitting the difficulties faced by salaried persons, Chaudhry stressed on the need for the private sector to increase the salaries of their employees. “An increase in income and jobs is the solution to this inflation,” said Fawad Chaudhry, adding that the industry, agriculture, and construction sectors are making historic profits.
Meanwhile, PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday had a telephonic conversation with Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and announced that the Opposition will start a campaign against the rising inflation in the country.
Taking to its official Twitter account, the PML-N confirmed that Shahbaz and Fazl criticised the government’s policies during the phone call and have decided to launch a full-fledged campaign against “the worst inflation in the country’s history”.
The two leaders agreed to join anti-government protests of other Opposition parties.During the phone call, Shahbaz told Fazl that leaders need to get out of their homes to “save the nation from inflation, unemployment, and the ongoing economic catastrophe across the country”.
The two leaders confirmed that to protest against the “historic” inflation, there will be demonstrations, rallies, and marches across the country.Earlier in the day, criticising the PTI-led government, Shahbaz said that with the the country already battling inflation, negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have also failed.”After the failure of the talks with the IMF, the government should revert the hike in prices,” Shahbaz demanded.He questioned the government’s monetary policy and said: “Despite accepting all the conditions laid down by the IMF, talks with the body still failed. What sort of a strategy is this?”
He said that the PTI government’s “three years of blind obedience to the IMF” could reap no benefits because the people continued to suffer the whole while.
“The government could achieve nothing.” Shahbaz said that the government “deceived the masses and also tricked the IMF”.
“This government has been seeing to the economic murder of people for the last three years,” he said in the statement, adding that the government should explain why it had to increase the prices of electricity, gas, petrol, flour, and sugar.”The government should also let the nation know what talks were held with the IMF,” he said, adding that when the PML-N government, led by Nawaz Sharif, completed the IMF’s programme in 2015, “Imran Niazi continued to criticise him”.
“Imran Niazi used to chant slogans that he would rather commit suicide than going to the IMF,” Shahbaz recalled.On Saturday, the government had announced a major price hike in petroleum products, increasing the per litre cost of petrol by Rs10.49 and high-speed diesel by Rs12.44 for the next fortnight.The increase in POL products was notified a day after the government hiked the power tariff by Rs1.39 per unit, which will come into effect from next month.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, the price of kerosene oil had been increased by Rs10.95 per litre, while light speed diesel had got costlier by Rs8.84 per litre.
“At present, oil prices have risen around $85 a barrel (Global Benchmark Brent), which is the highest since October, 2018,” read the finance ministry notification. It had added that entire energy chain’s prices had witnessed a strong surge in the last couple of months due to higher demand for energy spots and supply bottlenecks.