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Govt set to explode another POL bomb

By Iqbal Mustafa

ISLAMABAD – The Parliamentary committee formed for making recommendations for slashing prices of petroleum products has been told that another hike in POL prices would be made this week.

A meeting of the committee was held with Riaz Hussain Pirzada in the chair in Islamabad. Tanvir Hussain, one of the members of the committee, suggested that rate of sales tax be fixed for petroleum products while price diesel be brought down. He said it is time for the government to slash, even if symbolically, the rates of petroleum products.

Secretary Petroloeum, Ijaz Chaudhry, however said the POL prices would be raised yet again in the next 7 days, citing 121 dollars per barrel rate of the commodity in international market. A rise in local POL prices is inevitable, he added.

Minister for Finance, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the rate of inflation had been brought within a single digit and would not want it be spoiled through flawed policies.

He said the government had only succeeded in collecting Rs31 billion as levy against the target of Rs75 billion while Rs45 billion were provided as subsidy to the people.

Agencies Add: Citing a price hike in international petroleum prices, the government has hinted at increasing POL prices for the month of March.

Secretary Petroleum Ejaz Chaudhry on Wednesday told the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources that the government may have no option but to increase the prices because of the uprising trend of international oil market.

Petrol prices could be raised from 94 paisas to 2.68 Rupees, whereas diesel prices could be raised by 94 paisa.

According to the source, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has started working on the recommendations.

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