Islamabad [Pakistan], May 27 (ANI): Pakistan's finance minister has said the recent decision to hike prices of all petroleum products in the country was done as the government had no other option left to prevent the country from drifting towards a bad situation.
In a bid to placate the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout, the Shehbaz Sharif government on Thursday increased the petrol and diesel prices by PKR 30 per litre causing a surge in the cost of production in the country.
This is the highest-ever increase in the prices of all petroleum products in one go, according to the Dawn newspaper.
Addressing a press conference Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that this was the first step toward convincing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release the next tranche at the earliest.
This price hike came after talks between the Pakistan government and IMF in Doha. These discussions were aimed at reaching an agreement on policies at the conclusion of the IMF's seventh review of its USD 6 billion programmes for Pakistan, which has been stalled since early April.
The IMF had refused to revive the USD 6 billion programme if Pakistan fails to remove the fiscally unsustainable fuel and electricity subsidies. It had given Islamabad two days to lift the cap for the continuation of talksAlthough the increase in fuel prices would cause a surge in inflation, it will pave the way for Pakistan to achieve an IMF loan tranche of about USD 1 billion. It would further unblock assistance from other multilateral and bilateral lenders, shore up foreign exchange reserves, improve the exchange rate and energise the stock market, reported Dawn newspaper.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has also slammed Shehbaz Sharif for his decision to raise the prices of petroleum products (ANI)