ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Monday told the Senate that the federal government was charging zero sales tax on light diesel oil and kerosene oil to provide relief to poor consumers.
In a statement in the Upper House on Monday, the minister said that the government had waived off Rs 13.55 per liter sales tax on light diesel and Rs 14 per liter on kerosene oil that was being charged by the previous government.
The minister took exception to some recent statements by the political leaders and media reports regarding non provision of the subsidy to consumers on petroleum prices and said, there was a mechanism for increase or decrease in petroleum prices.
Ishaq Dar said that a summary was sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through Ministries of Finance and Petroleum by Oil and Gas Regulatory (OGRA) keeping in view petroleum prices in international market as well as petroleum development levy.
The finance minister said that the present summary sent to the government by the OGRA had proposed more increase than what the government has made as we rejected to increase petrol by Rs 1.70 per liter and high speed diesel by Rs two.
However, he explained that prices of light diesel and kerosene oil were not increased as these are the fuels of the poor.
The minister said that the government kept the petroleum prices stable during last seven months that cost the national kitty Rs 70 to 80 billion while even under present prices revised for 15 days, the government would bear extra cost worth Rs 2.75 billion.
Ishaq Dar also explained that sales tax on petrol was Rs 14 during the previous government tenure which was slashed to Rs 9.89 during the present government.
Dar said that even the previous government could facilitate consumers by cutting down the sales tax but they did not do it.
“It is the present government that is bearing burden of subsidy on petroleum products by keeping the petroleum prices at the minimum possible,” he said.
The finance minister further stated that the government also provided subsidy to power consumers when the prices of furnace oil decreased in international market.
“Had the previous government been that much worried about the poor consumers, it could have decreased the prices in its tenure,” the minister said.
The minister said that when the government provided subsidy to consumers on petroleum products or other commodities, the money comes from the social sector development allocations.
“Therefore, the government decided to pass on the impact of a bit of increase in petroleum prices to the consumers, so we can also continue with our developmental activities,” Ishaq Dar said.
“We should not have double standard when we discuss economy. We should play politics on serious subject of economy”.