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Lahore
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
EditorialU-turn on POL price

U-turn on POL price

Finally, the coalition government caved in to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and jacked up the price of petrol by Rs 30 per litre. Earlier, it was the PML-N, which along with other political parties, had launched an anti-government drive on the platform of the Pakistan Democratic Movement against inflation and now it has been imposing the same affliction on the masses. So, there is no respite for consumers as the government dropped the bombshell at midnight by announcing an exorbitant increase in the prices of petrol, oil and lubricants (POL) in the wake of ongoing talks with the IMF. The main reason for a surge in prices is stated to be increasing rates of POL in the international market. Amid declining foreign exchange reserves, the sale of POL is a cash cow for the Ministry of Finance as 25 percent revenue comes from the oil and gas sector. The government supports an exorbitant increase in GST in order to keep the budget on track. During the last three months, fuel prices have not been increased to avoid the masses’ wrath but the situation was getting out of control and the country’s economy was on the verge of collapse.

However, the masses will be the ultimate sufferers of this U-turn of the current coalition. The government needs to understand that due to a hike in POL prices, the rates of daily use commodities also go up, which create more problems for the inflation-hit masses. This increase in the rates of POL affects the prices of daily use commodities and transportation fares. The present increase in POL prices might trigger a new wave of inflation. The government must be aware that the masses have become more conscious of their problems due to the active role of mass media and they can stand up against this injustice. The rulers must look for other means for raising cash and meeting revenue targets instead of burdening the masses with more taxes. The government needs to reduce its unnecessary expenditures and take austerity measures. These self-centred decisions will have a negative impact on the overall economy. It is not a caring attitude by the federal government. In fact, by making such decisions, the government is inviting more trouble for itself.

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