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Finance minister refuses petroleum price hike, hints at interest rate rise

Miftah Ismail says govt would need to hike diesel price by Rs150 according to Imran and Tarin formula

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has reiterated that the government was not planning on increasing the prices of petroleum products. However, the minister indicated at an increase in the State Bank of Pakistan’s interest rate.

Addressing the media at the Karachi airport on Monday, Miftah criticized former finance minister Shaukat Tarin saying that he had promised the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the then government will not offer subsidies on petroleum products. They had assured the international the government would instead impose a tax of Rs30 per litre, he added.

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The finance minister said that the fuel subsidy must be eliminated and tax of Rs30 per litre has to be levied according the agreement with IMF. “We have to pay the price of the promises made by the former government,” he lamented. He added that the government will have to increase the price of diesel by Rs150 following the formula of Imran and Tarin.

Miftah said that he would attempt to convince the IMF that the government can’t raise oil prices instantly as the nation cannot afford it and should be given time.

He said that the government has been granting subsidy on petroleum and electricity and it will continue to do so for the time being.

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