Pakistan’s prime minister issues letter urging authorities ensure benefits of price cut are passed on to consumers
Taking notice of the ongoing price hike of essential commodities across Pakistan despite a substantial cut in the prices of petroleum products, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directed officials to ensure the reduction “correspondingly reflect” the prices of essential items.
In a letter addressed to the chief ministers and chief secretaries of all four provinces, as well as Gilgit-Baltistan, and Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Khan stressed that the full benefit of the price reduction of fuel should be passed on to citizenry.
“The prime minister has desired that the chief ministers/chief secretaries of the provinces shall personally look into the matter and make every effort to ensure that the impact of the reduction of fuel prices must correspondingly reflect in the prices of essential commodities on daily basis,” read an excerpt of the letter shared with media by the Prime Minister’s Media Office.
“The prime minister has taken [a] serious view of the fact that while the federal government had reduced POL prices drastically in the past few months, there is no corresponding reduction in the prices of essential commodities, rather these are showing upward trend,” it added.
In the same letter, Khan said there was “no logic as to why flour prices should increase when harvesting of the wheat crop has just recently been concluded.” He also asked the National Price Monitoring Committee to examine the prices of essential commodities weekly, as directed by the federal cabinet, and devise a mechanism to bring down soaring prices.
The government, on June 1, announced it had reduced the price of petrol by Rs. 7.06/liter for the rest of the month, with the fuel used primarily by consumers now selling for Rs. 74.52/liter. Similarly, it cut the price of kerosene by Rs. 11.88/liter to Rs. 35.56/liter and the price of light diesel oil by Rs. 9.01/liter to Rs. 38.14/liter.
The price of high-speed diesel oil, meanwhile, was increased by a nominal value of Rs. 0.05 to Rs. 80.15/liter.
Announcing the reduction, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office had said Pakistan’s fuel prices were now “the cheapest” in South Asia. “India is almost exactly double. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal are all 50 to 75 percent more expensive than us,” it said.