FEDERAL Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail has said the government imposed the petroleum levy in the range of Rs.5 to 10 per litre on POL products for reviving the stalled IMF programme.
Under the IMF programme, the time- frame was extended from 3 to 4 years while the size of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) also increased from $6 to $7 billion.
The clarification comes as the Government, for the fourth time in a month, massively increased prices of petroleum products.
The government on Thursday announced a hike of Rs14.85 per litre in the price of petrol, the fourth such raise in the last 35 days, taking the cumulative amount of all hikes since May 26 to nearly Rs100.
There is no doubt that the Government was under an obligation to impose the levy and pass on any difference in prices of oil in the global and local market to the consumers.
However, the latest increase is unexplainable as the prices have been jacked up at a time when prices of oil in the international market have come down significantly and people were expecting a relief from the Government.
In any case, the petroleum levy should have been adjusted against downward revision in the prices of petroleum products in view of a fall in prices in the international market.
The move might help the Government revive the stalled IMF programme but at an unbearable cost for the ordinary citizens.
Unfortunately, people of Pakistan were unable to benefit from a fall in prices of oil in the international market because of the nose-dive of rupee against dollar and expectations of the people that the PML(N) Government would be able to arrest the trend have not materialized so far.
The Government knows it well that any increase in the prices of oil and utility tariffs is passed on disproportionately to the end consumer by the industry and service providers.
There is, therefore, need to exercise vigilance against this practice besides provision of required relief to the people as the relief already announced by the Government is proving peanuts in the face of monstrous price-hike.