ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said on Friday that despite an increase in the prices of petroleum products in the international market, the government has decided not to increase the prices proposed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) for the month of March.
Addressing a press conference, the minister said that due to the increase in the petroleum prices in the international market, OGRA had proposed an increase in motor spirit (petrol) price by Rs 5.59 per litre, high octane by Rs 12.62, kerosene oil by Rs 7.32 and light diesel rice by Rs 5.5 per litre. The regulator proposed decrease in the price of high speed diesel by Rs 5.49 per litre. “But after using constitutional powers, the government will adjust the prices of petroleum products by reducing duties on petroleum prices,” he said, adding that sales tax on petrol, high octane, kerosene oil and light diesel would be reduced from 27 percent to around 18 percent. However, on high speed diesel, the sales tax would be increased from 27 percent to around 35 percent.
Ishaq Dar said that the prime minister had directed him to devise a mechanism to ensure that the prices of petroleum products remain the same until March 31. Moreover, he said that the Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) would also be reduced by Rs 5.11 per litre on high octane, Rs 2.6 on kerosene oil, Rs 0.85 on light diesel, Rs 0.31 on high speed diesel and Rs 0.18 per litre on motor spirit. He said Pakistan has received a good news form the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) being held in Paris that France has removed the country from its Public Statement (Grey Listing), which contained adverse remarks on Pakistan since February 2012.
He said that the FATF, in its decision about Pakistan, said that it welcomed the country’s significant progress in improving its anti-money laundering laws and combating financing (AML/CFT) for terrorism regime, and noted that Pakistan had established the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in its Action Plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in June 2010. Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan’s removal from FATF Grey list is a timely and welcome development, “which is an outcome of the tireless efforts made by the economic managers under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif”.
The minister said that the World Bank has formally informed the government that Pakistan has once again become eligible for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) funding after a gap of three years. He said the IBRD funding facility was suspended in March 2012 because at that time Pakistan could not fulfil the required conditions regarding macro-economic stability. He said since Pakistan is now maintaining foreign exchange reserves of more than 2.5 months of projected imports and has satisfied other criteria of World Bank under the Country Partnership strategy (CPS), it will now be able to avail $2 billion worth of IBRD funding during the four-year period of Fiscal Years 2015-19 with annual limit of $500 million.