Amidst surging global oil prices, Pakistan’s caretaker government has once again raised petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) prices, marking a second hike within a month and propelling petrol costs to historic highs. The Ministry of Finance has pointed to the soaring global petroleum prices and the unpredictable exchange rate shifts as the driving forces behind this move. These price hikes have stirred up worries about their repercussions on everyday folks from the lower-middle and middle class, significantly burdening them with an increased cost of living and higher transportation expenses.
Petrol Prices Surge
International News said that the Pakistan Government announced a hefty Rs26.02 per litre increase for petrol, which has catapulted it to an unprecedented Rs331.38 per litre. This steep surge is hitting hard at private transportation users, rickshaw drivers, and those who rely on two-wheelers, placing a substantial strain on the wallets of ordinary citizens.
HSD Costs Climb
As for high-speed diesel (HSD), its price has increased by Rs17.34 per litre, reaching Rs329.18 per litre. HSD is like the juice that powers big transport trucks, trains, and machines you see on farms. Because of this, the prices of things we need daily, like food and stuff, go up slightly.
Global Oil Price Surge
These price hikes are a response to the global surge in oil prices. It’s mainly because Saudi Arabia makes fewer oil barrels, and China wants to buy more. US West Texas Intermediate futures have risen by 0.7% to $90.78 a barrel, and Brent crude futures increased by 0.2% to $93.91 a barrel. This marks a 4% weekly gain.
Government Obligations and IMF Agreement
It’s important to note that the government is bound by its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), necessitating adjustments to fuel prices as required under a $3 billion standby agreement.
Impact on Consumers
These consecutive price hikes have raised concerns about their impact on average Pakistani citizens. Since much of the transport sector relies on HSD, the price increase is expected to ripple effect on the cost of living, mainly affecting essential goods’ prices. Petrol price hikes also strain the budgets of middle and lower-middle-class families, impacting their daily commutes and overall financial well-being.
Pakistan’s caretaker government’s decision to raise petrol and diesel prices in response to global oil prices underscores the delicate balance between economic realities and citizens’ well-being. As Pakistan grapples with the challenges posed by rising fuel costs, the effects will likely reverberate through various sectors of the economy, underscoring the need for well-considered policies to mitigate their impact on daily life.