The government has agreed to reduce by 50 percent the recent increase in the petroleum prices in the country.An announcement to this effect was made by Federal Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, while briefing media at the Governor House here late Thursday night.He said "after discussion among coalition partners which was held in a very cordial atmosphere, we have decided that the increase in the petroleum prices which was about 10 percent, be reduced by half, that is, five percent".Hafeez Shaikh said that because of this the government would have to bear an additional burden.
He said that in case of any reduction in the petroleum prices in the international market, the benefit of the same would also be transferred to the public.
Finance Minister said that there would also be 25 percent reduction in the allocation of petrol for government officials.Hafeez Shaikh said that a decision has been taken in principle to reduce the recent increase in the petroleum prices by 50 percent.
He said that a formal approval would be sought from the Prime minister and a notification would subsequently be issued.
Sindh Governor, Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan, said that after the increase in petroleum prices in the wake of enhancement in the price of the commodity at international level, the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, talked to President Asif Ali Zardari, and it was considered as to how the impact of the enhancement could be minimised for the masses.
He said that President Zardari sent Finance Minister, Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, and Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, for talks with the MQM team, on how the impact of increase in petroleum prices could be minimised to provide relief to the masses.
Dr. Hafeez Shaikh said that in the past three months there was almost 26 percent increase in petroleum prices at the international level but the Government of Pakistan decided to enhance only 10 percent and had to absorb an impact of Rs five billion per month.
He stated that MQM Chief Altaf Hussain and President Asif Ali Zardari initiated a contact to try and further minimise the impact of increase of petroleum prices on the people.
Federal Finance Minister said â€œwe decided to reduce this increase by 50 percent, that is, from 10 percent to five percent.
MQM leader Dr. Farooq Sattar, who was also present on the occasion, congratulated the people on the announcement regarding reduction in petroleum prices.
He thanked President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Finance Minister Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, and the MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
Dr. Farooq Sattar was of the view that attention be paid towards broadening the tax base.
Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, thanked the MQM leadership and Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
He said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and MQM always think for the betterment of the people and poverty alleviation.
Rehman malik also appealed to the transporters that in view of reduction in petroleum prices they should withdraw their strike call immediately.
MQM leaders Babar Ghauri, Syed Sardar Ahmed and Abbas Haider Rizvi were also present on the occasion.