With only a few nights until Ramadan, the Pakistan government has increased the cost of petrol to Pakistani Rupee (PKR) 272 per litre, putting additional pressure on the nation's inflation-weary population, Geo News reported. The Finance Division blamed the price rise on the weakening of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and an increase in the prices recorded by Platts Singapore in its fortnightly bulletin.
Many refined goods in Southeast Asia are priced using Platts Singapore. “Accordingly the price of petrol has increased by PKR 5 per litre and the price of hi-speed diesel has increased by PKR 13 per litre,” the notification read. By lowering the government's dues on it, the price of kerosene oil was kept from rising above PKR 2.56. The price of light diesel oil has also been maintained by altering government fees in a similar manner. The new prices are effective as of Thursday at 12 a.m. and will be valid till March 31.
On February 28, the Pakistani government reduced the price of petrol by PKR 5 per litre to PKR 267 per litre for the upcoming two weeks. This went against what the market had predicted, which was that the government would raise the rate to placate the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose loan is crucial for the country's financial situation. However, the increase in petrol prices is anticipated to further drive inflation, which is already close to a 50-year high, in the next month of Ramadan, as people struggle to make ends meet.
While the government battles to recover the economy, Pakistan on January 3 announced the early closing of marketplaces and wedding halls as part of a variety of steps under the energy conservation plan.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif gave a press conference following a cabinet meeting that approved the National Energy Conservation Plan to conserve energy and reduce reliance on imported oil. He claimed that the plan would "save us Rs 60 billion" by requiring wedding halls to close their doors at 10 p.m. and the markets to close at 8.30 p.m., respectively.
He announced more steps, including the halting of incandescent bulb production as of February 1 and the halting of the manufacture of inefficient fans as of July. He claimed that by taking these actions, additional Rs 22 billion may be saved.