“Govt will reduce petrol and diesel prices”, Hammad Azhar

ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Hammad Azhar declared the government’s decision to lower gasoline and diesel rates on Wednesday.

“This decision has nothing to do with the ECC [meeting that took place], but the first decision we’ve reached is to of the price of gasoline and diesel after discussions with the prime minister,” Hammad Azhar said at a press conference.

“Petrol prices will be reduced by Rs1.5 per litre, while diesel prices will be reduced by Rs3 per litre. We made this decision because, as a result of a price shift on the foreign market, we now have some extra space,” said he.

The minister addressed Pakistan’s high sugar prices, saying that although the government had approved sugar imports from other countries, the price of the commodity in those countries was also high.

According to Azhar, the demand for cotton in Pakistan is growing with the passage of time, and the country requires a large quantity of the crop.

Azhar clarified that since Pakistan did not grow high-quality cotton last year, the country had provided the go-ahead for the crop to be imported from other countries.

He added that “the import of cotton from India was banned and this had a direct effect on our SMEs,”

However, the minister said, “at the recommendation of the Ministry of Commerce, we have also decided to resume the trade of cotton with India.”

“We made the State Bank of Pakistan autonomous,” he continued, “Our currency today is standing on its own feet, we are not adding dollars to it.”

In response to a query about the State Bank bill, Azhar said that the government would present it to Parliament for discussion and that all stakeholders would be heard.

“The Parliament is sovereign; no other entity in the world is sovereign,” he said, adding that the government would amend the bill “with an open mind and an open heart” if it thought it was necessary.

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