Caretakers extend relief

DESPITE difficult financial position which is quite visible from the dwindling foreign exchange reserves, the caretaker government on Saturday extended relief to the masses by reducing the prices of different petroleum products including that of petrol by Rs 4.26 and high speed diesel by Rs 6.37 per litre. The reduction in prices indeed will come as a breather for the common man who was highly disturbed and angered over the recent hike in petroleum products.
In the wake of massive rupee depreciation and increase in international oil prices, the caretakers had left with no option but to pass on the burden to the general public. On the recommendations of OGRA, the price of petrol was increased by Rs 7.54 and that of high speed diesel by Rs 14 per litre at the outset of the month. In fact this was the second increase made by the caretakers in a matter of thirty days mainly because the PML (N) had shied from hiking the prices on their last day in office. On this, the anger of public at large was not something very surprising. Taking suo motu notice, the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had directed the caretakers to find a way out and reduce the prices of petroleum prices to provide the much needed relief to the general public. So whilst we really appreciate the caretakers for reducing the sales tax on petroleum products which resulted in the decline of petroleum prices, the people of the country are also grateful to the honourable CJP for taking into account the plight of the poor. Also as a result of the CJP’s intervention, the people today are also greatly benefitting from tax free mobile cards and easy loads. Though alone on the reduction in petroleum prices the government would suffer a loss of Rs 10 billion in revenue, but we understand that it could make it up from some other source. For instance, the tax amnesty scheme has remained very successful and for this reason, it was also extended for a further period of one month up till 31st July. According to Information Minister Barrister Ali Zafar, over Rs 50 billion have already been collected under this scheme. Thus, the amount generated from the affluent class could be used for the purpose of providing relief to the common man. In our view had the caretakers enhanced tax rates in the extended tax amnesty scheme and still it has time to do so, they would have sufficient cushion to further reduce the prices of petroleum prices which have multifaceted benefits as it will not only provide respite to the masses but also reduce the cost of doing business and give a boost to the economic activity.

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