Opposition demands reduction in fuel prices


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The opposition in National Assembly on Tuesday demanded the government to reduce oil prices in accordance with reduction in world market and review its decision to privatize Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Resuming debate on the motion situation arising out of non-reduction of oil prices in accordance with the International Market and implementation on the Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952 in PIA, leader of the House in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said balanced opportunities should be provided to both opposition and treasury benches.

He urged the speaker that his yesterday’s speech should be telecast live like other minister. He also asked for live cast of the House’s proceedings.

Khursheed Shah said the government was charging 69.5 per cent sales tax on diesel while the overall 37 per cent sales tax was being collected from petroleum products.

He said the government was collecting Rs 300 billion on account of sales tax on petroleum products. The total oil import bill of the country was $ 11-12 billion during PPP regime while currently it fluctuates between $ 5-6 billion. He said the electricity tariff should also be slashed as fuel prices have reduced significantly at the international market.

He alleged that despite lower prices of fuel, power tariff was enhanced for all consumers.

Shah said 65 per cent of total electricity was being generated from thermal source but tariff was not being reduced.

He said Rs480 billion circular debt was cleared to end power load-shedding but still the people were facing power outage.

He claimed that power load-shedding duration was less as compared to PPP’s government. He alleged that despite tall claims of the government, the circular debt again surged to Rs.300 billion.

He said that no relief was given to the masses by the incumbent government on account of power and gas tariffs.

He demanded of the government to withdraw its decision to impose Rs.101 billion Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) immediately.

He said a sum of Rs.680 billion was being collected annually under head of various taxes while it was mere Rs.280 billion during PPP rule.

He alleged that the government acquired record foreign debt in just two and half years.

He said the finance minister had assured that no SROs would be issued in future but 66 SROs were issued during 2015.

Chief of Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the present management of PIA has failed to address the problem. He said that landing services were also given to other airlines which could not be taken back for two years.

He said that assets of national flag carrier were not calculated properly.

Rashid said maximum relief could be provided to the poor masses by slashing fuel prices as per international market.

He said the international sanctions imposed on Iran have been lifted and the government should initiate work on Pak-Iran gas pipeline.

“We have to reduce our dependency on foreign loans as 47 per cent of total country’s revenue fall pray to repaying back debt,” he said.

Asad Umar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PPP) said record taxes were levied by the government. He claimed that diesel prices in 72 countries were less than Pakistan. He said three additional taxes were included in electricity bills.

He alleged that Rs.480 billion circular debt was paid at once without proper audit. He said no tax could be levied without the approval of the Parliament as per the constitution.

He demanded of the government that prices of diesel, kerosene oil should be slashed by Rs.5 per liter and Rs 20 per liter respectively besides withdrawing GIDC.

He said Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has been closed for the last 8 months and even the employees were not being paid their salaries.

He suggested that professional and competent peoples should be inducted in the boards of PIA, PSM and other state entities to make them profitable.

Source: APP

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