ISLAMABAD: Speaking on the floor of the House, PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman questioned the rising petrol prices and its implications saying, “The government is introducing tax amnesty schemes for the rich and inflationary packages for the poor. Even the darkest dictatorial regimes did not hike the price of petrol during the month of Ramazan, there would be relief packages for the people instead. There was never such a harrowing structural adjustment that would lead to the country being nuked by a petrol bomb. The government has already been reduced to ribbon cutting while IMF makes the policies”.
Rehman questioned, “Why have petrol prices gone up by 14%? Before May 1, the GST was 2% of the total petrol price, which was increased to a whopping 12% before Ramazan. This is the only Ramazan package the government has given. A horrifying third budget is on its way. We never know what federal levies or taxes the people would be slapped with overnight. The government is oblivious as to what the IMF is going to do. We are hearing that they will make the government impose further 12-15% taxes, increase the price of petrol and the dollar. As a result, the prices of commodities will sky-rocket”.
The Senator said, “The Prime Minister lacks courage to face the House. Since assuming power, he has only been present in the parliament once. This government has taken loans of over Rs. 3000 billion in a span of nine months, contradicting all of its promises. Just like that, 4 million have been pushed below the poverty line before this Ramazan. People cannot even afford to survive on roti and onions. Revolutions, like in the USSR, have started over the affordability of bread”.
“Petrol is the backbone of any economy. Rise in petrol prices impacts every sector and every commodity. In Pakistan, the biggest user of petrol is the transport sector that consumes 48% and the price of a 50kg bag of urea increased by Rs.150. All will be hit hard by this petrol price bomb. Transportation has become so expensive in Pakistan that food and public transport has come to a halt. In KP itself, the transport sector is warning of a wheel jam strike due to the increase in petrol prices,” Rehman added.
The Vice-President of PPPP said, “During PPP’s term, the global price of oil was $120 per barrel but the price of petrol was Rs. 63 per litre whereas the price of diesel was Rs. 44 per litre. Today, the global oil price is $66 but the domestic price of petrol is Rs. 108 per litre and the price of diesel is Rs. 122 per litre. We all resisted the conditions laid by the IMF and found better ways for bringing adjustments. Our government absorbed the shock instead of passing it on to the people”.
“It is very possible that if Iran is pushed further with sanctions, it would shut down the Strait of Hormuz, as the Revolutionary Guard said. 30% of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz everyday! Yesterday, US sent the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the Persian Gulf. If the US continues in this direction, oil prices will definitely go up further. With these international developments happening parallel to our own domestic economic issues, the government should inform us what course of action it’s going to take,” Rehman concluded.