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No change in oil tariffs as government cuts tax – Journal

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ISLAMABAD: The government decided on Monday not to increase oil prices for the next 13 days.

This has come as a break from the continued price increases over the past five consecutive fortnights. This despite an increase in international oil prices over the past 15 days. Goodbye elections to seven seats in the national and provincial assemblies are expected to take place over the next 13 days to complete the constituency for the senatorial elections set for March 3.

To keep prices at the existing level, the Petroleum Tax (PL) has been reduced from Rs3.07 on gasoline to Rs17.97 per liter instead of Rs21.04. The PL on HSD is down from Rs3.75 per liter to Rs18.36 instead of Rs22.11. Also, the PL on kerosene has dropped from Rs2.78 per liter to Rs2.76 instead of Rs5.54 per liter currently. The PL on LDO was also reduced from Rs3.26 to Rs3.65 from Rs 6.91 per liter.

Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected a summary by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) for a proposal to increase the prices of petroleum products to relieve the population, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said .

He said Ogra recommended an increase of 14.07 rupees per liter of gasoline, 13.61 rupees in high speed diesel (HSD), 10.79 rupees in kerosene and 7.43 rupees in light diesel (LDO) .

The government will do everything possible to bring relief to the population, according to the press release quoted by the Prime Minister. As such, the ex-depot price of HSD and gasoline would remain unchanged at Rs 116.07 per liter and Rs 111.90 per liter, respectively. Likewise, the ex-depot price of kerosene and LDO would remain at the current rates of Rs 80.19 per liter and Rs 79.23 per liter, respectively.

The government has increased the prices of petroleum products every fortnight since November 30, 2020 to pass on the impact of the rise in international oil prices. Since then, the price of HSD has increased by 14.67 pc (Rs 14.85 per liter), while the price of gasoline has increased by 11.13 pc (Rs 11.20 per liter).

Likewise, kerosene jumped 18.6 pc (Rs 14.90 per liter) while the LDO of over 26 pc (Rs 16.37 per liter) in five fortnights.

According to government instructions, Ogra is required to calculate oil prices based on the 17% general sales tax and the maximum gasoline levy allowed under the law at Rs 30 per liter on the HSD and gasoline.

One official said the government had already collected about 33 percent of revenue above the targeted petroleum revenue through the petroleum tax in the first six months of the current fiscal year. Therefore, he was comfortable with minor adjustments to the oil tax. According to the Ministry of Finance, oil tax collection amounted to Rs275bn in the first six months against an annual target of Rs450bn.

In recent months, the government has changed the petroleum tax rates instead of the GST, as the tax stays in the federal fund while the GST goes to divisible common taxes and therefore around 57% of the shares are seized by the provinces.

Posted in Dawn, February 16, 2021

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