Govt charging zero sales tax on light diesel, kerosene oil: Dar

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Adequate quantity of urea available in country

Muhammad Arshad

Islamabad

Besides locally produced stocks, there is an additional stock of around 250,000 M tons of imported urea available at a subsidized price of Rs 1200 per bag to benefit the farmers in the country.
It was disclosed at an inter ministerial meeting held here on Monday. It was stated during the meeting that the recent country wide rains will have a positive impact on the Rabi crop which will enhance the fertilizer demand.
The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Division to review the demand and supply situation of fertilizer in the country during the current sowing season after the much awaited rainy spell. The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbassi also participated in the meeting.
Secretary Industries and Secretary National Food and Security gave a detailed briefing to the participants on the current situation of the available stocks of local and imported fertilizers available in the country.
The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the available stocks of fertilizers in the country and asked the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to ensure uninterrupted supplies of fertilizer to the farmers as per direction of the Prime Minister.
The meeting was attended by the Finance Secretary, senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Petroleum and Natural Resources, National Food Security & Research, Industries and Production.
Meanwhile, In a statement in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Muhammad Ishaq Dar said the government is charging zero sales tax on light diesel oil and kerosene oil to provide relief to poor consumers.
The minister said, the government had waived off Rs13.55 per liter sales tax on light diesel and Rs14 per liter on kerosene oil that was being charged by the previous government.
The minister took exception to some recent statements by the political leaders and media reports regarding non provision of the subsidy to consumers on petroleum prices and said, there is a mechanism for increase or decrease in petroleum prices.
He said a summary is sent to the Prime Minister through Ministries of Finance and Petroleum by Oil and Gas Regulatory keeping in view petroleum prices in international market as well as petroleum development levy.
He said the present summary sent to the government by the OGRA had proposed more increase than what the government has made as we rejected to increase petrol by Rs1.70 per liter and high speed diesel by Rs two.
However, he explained that prices of light diesel and kerosene oil were not increased as these are the fuels of the poor, he added.
The minister said, the government kept the petroleum prices stable during last seven months that cost the national kitty Rs70 to 80 billion while even under present prices revised for 15 days, the government would bear extra cost worth Rs2.75 billion.
He also explained that sales tax on petrol was Rs14 during the previous government tenure which has been slashed to Rs9.89 during the present government.
Dar said even the previous government could facilitate consumers by cutting down the sales tax, but they did not do it. “It is the present government that is bearing burden of subsidy on petroleum products by keeping the petroleum prices at the minimum possible”.
He further stated that the government also provided subsidy to power consumers when the prices of furnace oil decreased in international market. “Had the previous government been that much worried about the poor consumers, it could have decreased the prices in its tenure”.
The minister said when the government provides subsidy to consumers on petroleum products or other commodities, the money comes from the social sector development allocations. “Therefore, the government decided to pass on the impact of a bit of increase in petroleum prices to the consumers, so we can also continue with our developmental activities”.
The minister said, “we should not have double standard when we discuss economy. We should play politics on serious subject of economy”.

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