Petroleum prices



IN what could be called a major relief to the masses on the part of government, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced reduction in the prices of petroleum products on Monday for the next fortnight. The price of petrol has been cut by twelve rupees per litre while that of diesel significantly by thirty rupees.

The reduction in prices is not less than good news for the masses bitten hard by the inflationary trends over the last almost two years. Regardless of economic crunch, the government really deserves appreciation for reducing the petroleum prices which in the international market hovers around seventy seven dollars per barrel. The fact of the matter is that relief could be far bigger provided our currency would have not devalued this much. Anyway the reduction is still significant one and now it must be ensured that the benefit of this also reaches the masses in the form of fall in the prices of transportation fares and essential items. The Finance Minister has requested transporters and other departments to use diesel to forward the relief to the public in the form of lower fares, so that every segment of the society could benefit from the development. We believe such calls or requests will only fall on deaf ears. The federal and provincial governments will have to play their part in this regard. When the prices of petroleum products had gone up, the transporters had massively increased the fares. Now it is the responsibility of concerned authorities to compel the transporters to reduce the fares as per the reduction in diesel prices. This should then also bring down the prices of other essential commodities. The government should also pay special attention to check smuggling of items as well as their hoarding. Every now and then meetings are held and affirmations are made to check these menaces but nothing changes on the ground much to the disappointment of the masses. Price control committees need to be fully activated to stop the profiteers robbing the pockets of consumers.