Pakistan drops petrol bomb on citizens after mini-budget

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ISLAMABAD: Hours after unleashing a tax-loaded mini-budget, Pakistan on Wednesday night hiked up the prices of petrol and gas to a historic high in a bid to appease the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for unlocking the critical loan tranche, reported Geo News.

The petrol price has been increased to Rs 272 per litre after an increase of Rs 22.20, a press release from the Finance Division read, noting that the surge has taken place due to the rupee’s devaluation against the dollar.

The price of high-speed diesel has been increased to Rs 280 per litre after a hike of Rs 17.20. Kerosene oil will now be available at Rs 202.73 per litre following a Rs 12.90 hike. Meanwhile, light diesel oil will be available at Rs196.68 per litre after an increase of Rs 9.68. The new prices will come into effect from 12 am Thursday, reported Geo News.

The increase in the price of petroleum products was one of the preconditions of the Washington-based lender, which will lead to a hike in the already record-high inflation, coupled with the new fiscal measures undertaken through the ‘mini-budget’. Meanwhile, inflation is expected to go up in Pakistan after the petrol hike, the ‘mini-budget’.

Senior economist Katrina Ell, associated with Moody’s Analytics, had predicted that inflation in Pakistan could average 33 per cent in the first half of 2023 before trending lower, and a bailout from the IMF alone is unlikely to put the economy back on track, reported Geo News.

Through the “mini-budget”, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led federal government aims to reduce the budget deficit and broaden its tax collection net.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued an SRO, increasing the standard 17 per cent general sales tax (GST) to 18 per cent, for collecting taxes worth Rs 115 billion, while the remaining Rs 55 billion will be generated through other measures in connection with the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 — or the ‘mini-budget,’ reported Geo News. (ANI)

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