Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that his government’s move to raise fuel prices was necessary to prevent the country from going bankrupt.
Pakistan on Thursday raised the prices of petroleum products by Rs 30 per liter. After the increase, the price of petrol is now Rs 179.85, diesel at Rs 174.15, kerosene at Rs 155.95 and light diesel at Rs 148.41.
In his first address to the nation after coming to power last month, Shehbaz spoke mainly about the domestic problem facing the government.
His main focus was the aid package for the vulnerable after the government raised oil prices to get an aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The prime minister said the move to raise fuel prices was necessary to prevent Pakistan from going bankrupt.
Shehbaz said the decision to raise oil prices was a difficult one. “It is with a heavy heart that we have increased oil prices; we have to make the decision in a difficult economic situation. It is due to the incredible increase in oil prices in the world market,” he said.
“The previous government had announced a grant that could not be supported by the Treasury. We made the decision by favoring the country in our own interest,” he said.
To mitigate the impact of the rise in petroleum prices, he announced a Rs 28 billion per month aid package to provide Rs 2,000 per month to about 14 million families.
“These families comprise nearly 80 million individuals, which is a third of the country’s total population,” he said.
Shhebaz also blamed the previous government for the current increase in oil, as it has pledged with the IMF for this increase.
“You made a deal with the IMF, not us; you accepted their difficult circumstances, not us; you burden the people with inflation, not us; you pushed the country into an economic puddle, not us…” he said.
With inputs from NDTV