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Govt ‘discreetly’ increases levy on POL products by Rs22 per litre

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance has ‘secretly’ jacked up petroleum levy (PL) on oil prices by up to Rs22 per litre in an apparent bid to collect additional revenue of approximately Rs32 billion for the month of February, Pakistan Today has learnt on Wednesday.

According to sources, the finance ministry has been secretly charging the oil consumers with a ‘record high’ rate of petroleum levy ostensibly to meet the revenue shortfall of approximately Rs188 billion. In this regard, they added, Rs30-32 billion would be collected from the general public during the month of February.

Sources said that the petroleum levy imposed on the fuels usually used by the common public (petrol, diesel) has been increased massively. “The PL on petrol is notified at Rs14/litre while high-speed diesel (HSD) at Rs22. Similarly, there is no exception to kerosene oil, which is usually used by people of remote areas for cooking and lightening purposes, as it has also been jacked up by Rs7 per litre,” they added.

Sources said for the first time in the last 15 years, the recently notified rates of petroleum levy on POL products are higher than the previous PLs. So far, neither the finance ministry nor the petroleum division or any other concerned department has made public the notified rates of PL on POL products for the said month of February, they added.

It is pertinent to mention that Finance Minister Asad Omar used to criticise the former government for not passing on full relief of international oil prices to the masses. He had also remained a staunch opponent of imposing additional taxes in the prices of POL products.

A copy of the notification issued by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) available with this scribe revealed that the petroleum levy imposed on the sale of petrol at pumps was increased from Rs10 and fixed at Rs14 per litre while PL imposed on the sale of diesel at petrol pumps was jacked up from Rs8 per litre and settled at Rs22 per litre.

Similarly, PL on the sale of petrol through retail outlets (bulk procurement companies) was raised to Rs17.47 per litre, whereas PL on the sale of diesel to bulk procurement companies was fixed at Rs24.93/litre.

As per the sources, the finance ministry has failed to pass on the full relief to the masses in line with fuel prices in the international oil market. They said the government announced only partial relief in the prices of petroleum products for February, adding that the maximum per litre price of petrol could be fixed at Rs65 per litre and diesel at Rs73 per litre in accordance with crude oil price in the international market.

They said the finance minister had stopped the ministry from imposing more than 17pc GST on POL products apparently for two reasons. First, to avoid severe public wrath coupled with harsh criticism from the opposition parties and second, with an additional collection of GSTs, the provinces would enjoy more benefits than the centre.

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