Weeks after slashing the prices of fuel ahead of the Eid ul Adha festival, the cash-strapped Pakistan government on Monday sharply hiked their prices for the next fortnight as it began the new fiscal year.
According to a notification, the prices of petrol and High-Speed Diesel (HSD) were raised by Rs 7.45 and Rs 9.56 per litre respectively on the first day of a tax-laden budget for 2024-25, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Last month, the government slashed the prices of petrol and HSD by Pakistani Rs 10.20 and Pakistani Rs 2.33 per litre respectively, ahead of Eid ul Adha.
The Ministry of Finance in a late-night announcement said the prices of petroleum products have seen an increasing trend in the international market during the last fortnight, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The increase in petroleum product prices has been made based on the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (Ogra) recommendations and with the prime minister’s approval, The Express Tribune said.
The new ex-depot petrol price for July 1 to 15 would be Pakistani Rs 265.61 per litre compared to Rs 258.16 in the previous fortnight, up by 2.9 per cent, the Dawn reported.
However, petrol would be available for over Pakistani Rs 266 per litre in the retail market, it said.
On the other hand, the new ex-depot price of HSD is Pakistani Rs 277.45 per litre, or 3.6 per cent higher than the Pakistani Rs 267.89 over the past fortnight.
Hours before the price hike announcement, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb announced on Sunday evening that the petroleum levy would not be increased. Although its ceiling had been increased to Pakistani Rs 70 per litre in the budget from Pakistani Rs 60 to create “headroom” for the future, the Dawn reported.
Officials said the prices of petrol and HSD had increased in the international market by about USD 4.4 and USD 5.5 per barrel, respectively, in the last fortnight, the report said.
Since May 1, the prices of both petrol and HSD have been going down mainly because of a slump in the international market. Petrol prices dropped by nearly Pakistani Rs 35 to about Pakistani Rs 259 per litre on April 30. Likewise, the HSD price came down by about Pakistani Rs 22 to Pakistani Rs 268 per litre in the second fortnight of April.
Finance Minister Aurangzeb on Sunday conceded that the people were stressed due to new taxes imposed in the budget after his revenue measures were criticised by almost everyone.
His comments came as President Asif Ali Zardari accorded his approval to tax-laden Finance Bill 2024 on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The bill would be effective from July 1, according to the press release by the President Secretariat.
Addressing a press conference, Aurangzeb said he understood that the salaried class was particularly experiencing financial strain from new taxes. He pledged to offer relief to salaried individuals once any financial respite becomes feasible. 

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