It was not very long ago that Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the government would try its level best not to raise the prices of petroleum and products though it was bearing a loss of Rs 30 per litre on petrol and Rs 70 per liter on diesel.
According to him, no government has ever sold petrol in loss. Interestingly, however, the nation has seen not one but three hikes in the prices of petroleum and products in a matter of two months during the ongoing tenure of the present government.
In my view, however, the finance minister ought to have appeared realistic in relation to country’s state of economy, which is in tatters, to say the least. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had laid an economic landmine for its successor by not raising the prices of petroleum and products in accordance with the global market prices. It is, however, needless to say that the country is in the throes of a profound economic crisis.
It is said that Pakistan is one step from Sri Lanka which is now facing the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. Not only is the island nation facing unprecedented levels of inflation, it is also witnessing near-depletion or complete depletion of foreign exchange reserves. Our situation is not much different from Sri Lanka’s.
Naseer Husain (Islamabad)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022