Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar said the caretaker government had no choice but to increase the price of petrol because the previous government had chosen not to do so in the last month of its tenure despite the increase in petrol prices in the international market.
Akhtar, along with Minister for Information Barrister Ali Zafar, was addressing a press briefing in Islamabad.
Akhter said that petroleum prices in Pakistan are linked to oil prices in the Gulf market. “The prices had increased by 6 to 11 percent in the Gulf oil market in May,” she said by way of explanation.
Defending the caretaker government’s decision to increase Petrol prices by Rs4.26 and high speed diesel by Rs6.55, the minister said that only 50 percent of the impact has been passed on to consumers. “Keeping domestic prices lower than international market is cumbersome for the government,” she added.
Shortfall of 2,000 Megawatts
Information Minister Barrister Ali Zafar said the current power generation is around 21,000-22,000 megawatts while the demand is 23,000-24,000 megawatts, creating a shortfall of around 2,000 megawatt.
As an explanation for the severe load-shedding earlier this month, Zafar said that hydel power generation was only 3,000 megawatts, compared to around 6,000 megawatts during the same period last year, due to low water level.
He added that the technical fault at Bin Qasim power plant aggravated the situation by taking 1,300 megawatts from the national grid.
However, the situation is improving as the weather has changed and dams are filling up due to recent rains. “From July onwards, there won’t be any load-shedding,” he added.