Partial relief

THE Government has, unfortunately, made it a point not to pass on due relief to masses whenever prices of oil come down in the international market. This is happening since long and it happened again on Friday when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced to pass on partial relief to people of Pakistan.
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has been recommending substantial relief for consumers but the Government plays foul taking refuge behind argument that even a layman would not accept. Be it poor or the rich, it is fluctuation in prices of petrol and diesel that matter and not kerosene oil and LDO as repeatedly claimed by the Finance Minister. Reduction in prices of petrol and diesel directly benefits each and every citizen in the shape of reduced transportation costs, fares besides reduction in cost of production. The Minister claims that prices of kerosene oil are not increased in line with recommendations of OGRA for the benefit of the poor but will he please tell where kerosene is used, for what purpose and on what price? We bet that there is not a single outlet anywhere in the country where a poor man could get kerosene oil on rates announced by the Government. All outlets sell kerosene above Rs. 100 a litre as against Rs. 44 fixed by the Government on the plea that they get oil through black-market. Then the question arises who benefits from massive subsidy being given on kerosene oil? Obviously, it is the mafia that is involved in mixing kerosene with other POL products and mints billions. The Government should, therefore, adopt a realistic and people-friendly approach in determining prices of POL products and rely more on increasing exports and curbing imports than trying to shore up revenues by denying due relief to masses.

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