From Price Hike to Relief: Government’s New Package to Ease Burden on Low-Income Families

Pakistan making progress in overcoming economic challenges, says PM Shehbaz Sharif

The recent announcement by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif regarding a petroleum relief package has garnered significant attention, particularly, with its inclusion of a subsidy of Rs50 per liter for low-income segments. This comes in response to the recent increase in the prices of all petroleum products, with the exception of light diesel oil, by up to Rs13 per liter for the next two weeks. The Ministry of Finance has cited the increase in Platts Singapore prices and the depreciation of the rupee over the last fortnight as the primary reasons for the price hike. 

As a result of this increase, the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) has reached a new record of Rs293 per liter, a development that is likely to have a significant impact on consumer prices due to increased transport costs. This has raised concerns among the general public, particularly the low-income segments of society who may be disproportionately affected by this price hike. 
It is important to note that such fluctuations in petroleum prices are not uncommon and can often be attributed to global factors beyond the control of the government. However, the government’s decision to provide a subsidy for low-income segments is a positive step towards mitigating the impact of these price increases. 

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In the coming days and weeks, it will be interesting to see how this petroleum relief package plays out and whether it is successful in providing relief to those who need it most. 
During a meeting in Lahore on Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a petroleum relief package aimed at low-income consumers who use motorcycles, rickshaws, 800cc cars, and other small vehicles. The package includes a subsidy of Rs5 per liter for petrol and Rs13 per liter for high-speed diesel (HSD). 

Since January 15th, the prices of petrol and HSD have increased by Rs62 and Rs65 per liter, respectively. The prime minister emphasized that the subsidy would provide relief to the poor, who are the primary users of small vehicles. 
According to Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, a comprehensive strategy for implementing the petroleum subsidy program will be formed in collaboration with relevant departments. The prime minister acknowledged the government’s economic difficulties and stressed that despite the challenges, efforts would be made to assist the poor. 
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to PM Ahad Cheema, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Bajwa, as well as high-ranking officials from the finance and petroleum departments. The briefing by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on the strategy for providing the petroleum subsidy was also discussed. 

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