A gas station attendant refuels a motorcycle in Peshawar, Pakistan, 16 September 2023. EFE-EPA/ARSHAD ARBAB

Pakistan hikes prices of petroleum products to all-time-highs

Islamabad, Sep 16 (EFE).- Pakistan has increased the prices of petroleum products to all-time-highs even as a massive economic crisis affects the country, which has been aggravated by high inflation and rise in electricity bills, which have affected millions of people.

An attendant points to the meter at a petrol station in Peshawar, Pakistan, 16 September 2023. EFE-EPA/ARSHAD ARBAB

In the early hours of Saturday, the ministry of finance raised the price of gasoline (petrol) from 305.36 rupees ($1.03) to 331.28 rupees ($1.12), while high-speed diesel price was raised from 311.84 rupees to 329.18 rupees.

The prices of both the oil products have now touched their highest ever level after several gradual hikes, most of them taking place after an interim government led by caretaker Anwaar ul-Haw Kakar took charge in mid-August. Since then the rates have risen by around 20 percent.

The hike in diesel prices is considered highly inflationary, as the fuel is used by vehicles that transport raw materials, such as vegetables and other eatables.

The measure comes amid high levels of inflation in the country, with the rate touching 27.4 percent in August according to the government. .

The severe economic crisis in Pakistan resulted in the International Monetary Fund resuming a bailout program in June under certain conditions, which included ending subsidies and thus raising the prices of oil products and electricity.

The cash-hungry country subsequently received the first tranche of $3 billion from the IMF bailout scheme, but the next two installments depend on how the country fulfils the demands by the global lender.

In this regard, earlier this month, intelligence agencies of the country launched a campaign against the informal or black market which is blamed for hoarding dollars or manipulating its price.

According to local media reports, tens of millions of dollars have poured back into Pakistan’s interbank and open markets.

Increased petroleum prices and rising inflation have further widened the gap between majority middle and lower classes of Pakistan and the elites. EFE