Fuel prices: Miftah says ‘no chance’ of immediate hike but won’t rule out eventual subsidy reversal – Pakistan

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said he did not rule out the possibility of an oil price adjustment after May 1, although “it is unlikely that gasoline prices will rise immediately in the next few days.” Governments will have to consider a number of factors before moving forward.

In an interview with Chief Journalist Hamid Mir geography news On the show, Ismail said the public shouldn’t be worried about an impending price increase over the next three or four days. In the event of a surge in oil prices, we plan to comprehensively consider various factors, including the summary submitted by Ogra.”

Miftah’s statement came a day after he told American think tank the Atlantic Council during a visit to Washington that the government must raise oil prices to get Pakistan’s economy back on track and revive a bailout program that was halted with the IMF. will be

The IMF approved a three-year $6 billion loan to Pakistan in 2019, but spending was delayed by concerns about the pace of reforms.

In today’s interview, Miftah said she would question Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about steps he was taking to protect the poor when he was eventually forced to raise gasoline prices. “So I should make a plan for it, but I haven’t done it yet.”

“The subsidies given to the wealthy should be considered to ease inflationary pressures on the low-income bracket,” the minister added.

‘There is no plan to reverse the SBP bill’

When asked if the bill on SBP autonomy would be withdrawn because the PML-N had strongly opposed it while it was against it, Ismail said he still thinks there is much to consider on the matter.

“But let’s not be distracted right now. I’m fully focused on the IMF program. Currently, the government has no plans to change the SBP autonomy that could affect its relationship with the IMF.”

The 2021 SBP Amendment Bill was approved by the Senate on January 28, this year, with strong opposition from opposition parties, mainly the PPP and PML-N.

The bill promises full autonomy to the central bank and completely limits government borrowing from the central bank. But, according to the opposition, the government can now borrow from commercial banks at market rates, which will benefit private banks owned by the business elite.

The passage of the bill was one of the conditions the IMF set to free the country $1 billion.

In response to another question, the minister said the government had no plans to amend the law for at least a year.

He promised that the government would take steps to help the poor in the future.