Oil overpricing

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AT a time when the country is reeling under the unprecedented calamity in the form of floods, the prices of both petroleum products and edible are on higher side regardless of the fact that their prices have witnessed a significant decrease in the international market.

This amounts to rubbing more salt on the wounds of inflation-stricken people. It is a matter of satisfaction that the government has finally taken notice of ghee/cooking oil industry’s blatantly selling their products at higher rates.

The prices of palm oil in the international market fell massively from eighteen hundred dollars per tonne in March 2022 to one thousand and fifty dollars per tonne in August but this benefit has not been passed on to the domestic consumers accordingly.

A mere three to four percent decrease in the prices of cooking oil drew the attention of the National Price Monitoring Committee which directed to ensure the prices are reduced in line with the international prices.

Now it is anticipated that the ghee industry will resort to different tactics and pretexts to avoid extending the full benefit of price reduction but now responsibility rests with the government to ensure the implementation of its decision which in fact will bring some relief and solace in the life of poor consumers who are feeling the brunt of price hike over the last many months.

Strict action should be initiated against the companies not complying with the directions. And most importantly, as the prices of petroleum products are witnessing downward trend and now hovering around 96 dollars per barrel, it was surprising that the government once again enhanced their prices regardless of OGRA’s proposal for a reduction.

We understand that the government is faced with a tough situation and the calamity has further made the situation complex.

But as the government has got the IMF program revived with a friendly country offering oil on deferred payment, relief must be extended to the masses.

Enhancing petroleum prices will only further increase the transportation cost and also adversely impact the agricultural economy because of which the country could face the serious food security issue.

The government must take decisions prudently keeping in view the larger interests of the country and its people.

 

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