Fuel price: Miftah says ‘no chance’ of immediate increase, but will not exclude any eventual reversal of subsidy
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail stated on Monday that there was “no chance” of an immediate rise in petrol prices in the coming days but did not preclude the possibility of price revisions on or after May 1st, saying that even if the last path has been chosen, the government must deliberate on various factors before giving the green light.
Speaking to a senior anchorperson Hamid Mir on Geo News, Ismail said the public should not be concerned about an imminent price hike in the next three to four days.
“If there is a spike in fuel prices, this will take place after examining multiple factors, including the summary presented by the Ogra.”
Miftah’s statement comes the day after he went to Washington told the US think tank Atlantic Council that the government will need to raise the price of oil products to put Pakistan’s economy back on track and relaunch the bail-out package with the IMF.
In 2019, the IMF approved a three-year USD 6 billion loans for Pakistan, but disbursements were slowed by concerns about the pace of reforms.
“In today’s interview, Miftah said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would also question him about the measures taken to insulate the poor when he ultimately reaches him, recommending a petrol price hike. “As a result, I also have to make this plan, which I have not yet done.
We will need to revisit subsidies to the wealthy to alleviate inflationary pressures on the poor,” added the Minister.
‘No plan to overturn SBP law’
When asked if the SBP autonomy legislation would be overturned, PML-N strongly opposed it, while in opposition, Ismail said he still believed there was still much to be reviewed on the matter, “However, I cannot be distracted at this moment.” I focus entirely on the IMF program. Right now, the government has no plan to make changes to the SBP’s autonomy that could impact our relationship with the IMF.”
The SBP Amendment Bill, 2021, was approved by the Senate on January 28 of this year amid strong protests from the opposition parties, primarily the PPP and the PML-N.
Photo: Official Twitter