Pakistan has lowest fuel prices in region: Shahid Khaqan

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday said that the government did not earn a single additional penny on account of price reduction in petroleum products at international level.

He said Pakistan’s petroleum products prices were still the lowest as compared to other countries of the world.

He was concluding a two-day debate on the motions for not passing on benefits to people and further burdening gas consumers levy of Rs 101 billion in the country.

The minister said that the government had passed on benefit of Rs.41 per liter to people so far on account of reduction in petroleum prices in the international markets.

He said there was a clear directive of the prime minister to pass on the benefit on masses.

Giving the comparison of petrol prices with other countries of the region, the minister said currently the prices of petrol in India is Rs100 per liter and Rs130 per liter in Bangladesh while in Pakistan its prices were Rs.71.25 per liter.

He said international oil markets did witness a significant reduction in the prices of petroleum products from $ 120 per barrel to $ 35 per barrel since February 2014. The government had been charging Rs. 25.78 tax on petroleum products when its prices were $ 120 per barrel and now almost same Rs. 25.59 tax was being charged in the country.

He said all developed and European countries earned major chunk of their income from taxation on petroleum products.

Shahid Khaqan said the Sindh Assembly had also passed a resolution to fix petrol prices at Rs 40 per liter. However, he pointed out that “petrol is not even available at Rs40 per liter in the exporting countries”.

He said the government has adopted a prudent policy in this regard and its prices were lowest as compared to other importing countries.

The minister refuted the Opposition parties’ allegation that the government was going to overburden gas consumers with Rs101 billion and said that no additional tax was imposed on the consumers.

He said that the gas system was being augmented through which it would be transported to the consumers at a cost Rs140 billion.

He said that unfortunately no new pipeline was laid by any past government adding that power plants, fertilizers industries and CNG sector, running on gas, had been closed.

The energy crisis could not be overcome without the availability of additional gas and addressing gas-related issues, he added.

He made it clear that the cost of gas pipeline would have to be borne by those who would utilize imported gas.

He said in past the consumers bore all the burden but the incumbent government revised gas prices only one time despite Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) repeated proposals to enhance gas tariff by 34 per cent.

The minister said that he was ready to face any reference in the court and any debate on issue at any forum.

“The reference should also be filed against all those who did not pay attention to address this grave issue,” he said.