- Finance minister says there is no summary or plan to raise prices, a remark that comes amid rumours that govt was looking to increase rates again
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail clarified on Tuesday that he never spoke about petroleum rates during the pre-budget seminar held earlier in the day, adding that "there will be no increase in prices today and there is no summary or plan to raise prices".
In a tweet, the minister added: "Channels running these tickers are doing a disservice to their viewers."
His remarks come amid reports that citizens are rushing to refill their vehicles as another increase in prices of petroleum products was in the offing.
The government has already raised prices of petroleum products twice in less than 2 weeks as it looks to appease the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that emphasised the termination of energy subsidies to revive its bailout programme.
The prices were hiked by Rs30 on May 26 and again on June 3. On June 3, Miftah had said that despite the massive increase in the price of petroleum products, the government was still bearing losses — which many took as a sign that a further increase was on the cards.
Meanwhile, addressing the 'Pre-budget Seminar on Business, IT, and Agriculture' in Islamabad earlier on Tuesday, the finance minister said that the government has prepared a progressive budget – set to be announced on June 10 – that will focus on fiscal consolidation while sustaining GDP growth and controlling inflation.
He said Pakistan would reduce its budget deficit to 5% from the current 8-9% while the economy will grow at 4-6%.
“Moreover, a targeted subsidy for poor strata of society will be announced,” he said. “We will cover nearly one-third of Pakistanis in the subsidy.”