ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday announced that the government has decided to keep the prices of petroleum products unchanged for the month of March.
The finance minister said Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had recommended an increase of Rs5.59 per liter in the price of motor spirit; Rs12.62 in hi-octane, Rs7.32 in kerosene oil and Rs5.50 per liter increase in price of diesel.
However, the authority had recommended Rs5.49 per liter reduction in the price of high speed diesel, the minister added .
“On the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I am giving good news to the people that the government is not increasing the prices of petroleum products and has decided to maintain the same prices for the next month,” Dar said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
He also said that the government has decided to increase sales tax on diesel from 27 per cent to 36 per cent, however, the tax on remaining petroleum products will be decreased from 27 per cent to 18 per cent.
The finance minister said that the country has foreign exchange reserves worth 16 billion dollars, enough to meet import requirements for fourteen months.
Earlier, Ogra had recommended on Thursday up to 15 per cent increase in prices of petroleum products and a 7.3 per cent cut in high speed diesel for March.
A senior Ogra official said the authority had worked out the price adjustment on the basis of 27 per cent GST, and not on the previous rate of 22 or 17 per cent, on the instructions of the finance minister.
He said the government had the powers to increase or decrease the tax rate and depending on the political situation, it might provide relief to people or increase its revenue collection.
A finance ministry official said a final decision on the price adjustment would be taken after seeking an advice from the prime minister.