Wednesday, February 08, 2023
Most petrol pumps in cities of Punjab remained closed on Tuesday posing serious troubles for commuters who kept looking for fuel. However, State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik dismissed reports that there was a shortage of fuel in the country.
Consumers are facing problems due to the limited supply of the commodity despite the painful increase of Rs35 per litre in petrol and diesel price. The country faced the same situation earlier this month also before the price hike.
The government on January 29 jacked up the price of petrol and diesel by Rs35 per litre following the historic devaluation of the rupee against the dollar.
The local currency dropped to historic lows against the dollar following the removal of the unofficial cap on the greenback.
The cities of the province where consumers faced problems include Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Shakargarh, Khushab, Mandi Bahauddin and Gojra.
The filling stations that continued to provide fuel witnessed long queues of vehicles.
Owners of petrol pumps have reportedly started rationing the commodity as motorcyclists are only being provided with Rs200 worth of petrol and bigger vehicles are being given not more than Rs500 worth of fuel.
However, the state minister for petroleum warned against hoarding as fuel supply is already on edge. The minister said that hoarders should remain prepared for the cancellation of their licenses.
There is 20 days worth of petrol and 25 days worth of diesel in the country, Malik told Geo News. He also called upon people to identify the pumps providing limited petrol for the sake of profit.
Malik stressed that there was no shortage of petrol in the country. He also clarified that the prices of petroleum products would not be hiked before February 15.
Former finance minister Miftah Ismail has predicted that things on the economic front would “remain tight” even if the government manages to secure the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) bailout programme.
Pakistan — with a $350 billion economy — is seeking a crucial instalment of $1.1 billion from the IMF to avoid default.
“Things will be tight for a while but we can get enough loans for now that we will get some room,” Miftah replied to a question asked by Geo.tv during a question and answer session held by the former financial czar on the popular microblogging site, Twitter, on Sunday.
His response came to the question: “If we secure the IMF's tranche, will $1.1 billion be enough to manage economic challenges? In addition, even if we add some more amount from bilateral donors, who are awaiting [the] IMF nod, our reserves will still continue to dwindle because of external payments, then what's the solution?”
The PML-N stalwart, however, said that for the future “we have to figure out a way to export more”.
Pakistan is spiralling deeper into crisis amid a shortage of dollars and accelerating inflation, with reserves falling to a nine-year low.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is facing the difficult task of convincing the IMF that the country is ready to implement other tough measures, including raising taxes and gas prices.