Amid a drastic increase in the prices of petroleum products by the federal government in line with the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have decided to reduce their petroleum expenditure by 40 and 35 per cent, respectively.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced the increase of Rs30 per litre in the price of petrol to pave way for the revival of the IMF progamme. As per the new fuel prices, petrol is available at Rs209.86 per litre, high-speed diesel (HSD) at Rs204.15, kerosene oil at Rs181.94 and light diesel oil at Rs178.31. Only the price of kerosene oil was increased by less than Rs30.
This is the second increase in the price of petroleum products over the past fortnight. Earlier, the government had hiked the prices by Rs30 as it reduced subsidies on fuel.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah approved a 40 per cent cut in the fuel quota for all provincial government officials and ministers, including the CM.
Murad took notice of the latest fuel price hike and said that the rising prices should not impact the provincial treasury. “Overburdening the treasury means overburdening the masses,” he added.
The provincial chief executive also said that the reduction in the fuel quota will help reduce the strain on the treasury and thereby help share the burden on the masses.
The announcement by the Sindh government comes after severe backlash following yet another hike in the prices of petroleum products.
Former prime minister Imran Khan also took to Twitter earlier and made a call for country-wide protests stating “I want everyone to come out & protest peacefully after Juma prayers against this imported govt’s anti-people policies of massive price hikes to crush the public & wreak economic havoc in the country.”
The government claims to have made the move to meet the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the revival of the stalled loan programme signed with the global lender during the previous PTI regime.
In a letter sent by the KP CM secretariat to the chief secretary, CM Mehmood Khan directed all provincial departments to cut down on their fuel expenditure amid an “unusual spike” in the prices of the POL products. The decision was taken to reduce the “high pressure on the resources” of the KP government led by the PTI.
The CM directed to reduce POL expenditure of all provincial government departments, institutions, and organisations by levying a 35pc cut with an immediate effect, the letter added. “A monitoring mechanism may also be put in place for the observance of the directives” of the CM, the letter went on to add.