You can’t run a country on subsidies — if the prices have gone up today, they will decrease tomorrow, Information Fawad Chaudhry said Sunday. He was talking about the recent hike in petrol prices across Pakistan.
On Saturday, the PTI government, after approval from PM Imran Khan, increased the petrol prices by Rs10.47 taking the commodity to a record high of Rs137.47. The move was criticised by people, while the Opposition has decided to use the hike for the fall of the government.
In a series of tweets early morning, Chaudhry pointed out that propaganda was being done on the recent price hike. “[It’s] as if we’re on a separate planet in the world. If oil and gas prices go up in the world, they will do so in Pakistan as well.”
The minister vowed that country will face these hard times as a nation, adding that the economic crisis is temporary. “Industries such as agriculture and construction are making historic profits,” he revealed.
It’s actually the salaried people who are suffering. Private sector businesses should increase the pay of their employees. This will increase their livelihoods and counter inflation, Chaudhry added.
Earlier, on Saturday, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar reasoned that the increase in petrol prices in the country is an outcome of the demand-supply crisis in the international market.
Compared to other countries, the prices in Pakistan are still the lowest, he said, adding that the government has reduced the petroleum levy from 30% to 5.5%.
IMF talks and petrol prices
The increase in petroleum and electricity prices come at a time when Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is concluding his Washington visit where he met IMF officials.
The finance minister was supposed to brief the IMF on the economic performance and situation of Pakistan. If negotiations are successful the IMF will immediately disburse $1 billion.
The talks would likely affect common people in the country.
Tarin has, however, refused to link the increase in petrol prices with IMF talks. At a press conference in Washington Saturday, he said that an increase in the prices in the international markets forced the government to take this step.