Asad Umar calls to accelerate vaccine drive

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said that prices may not decline in the next two months, adding they will start falling from March next year.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, the minister expressed the hope that commodity prices may start falling between March and June next year.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has given maximum possible relief to the people, he added.

Asad said that a programme had been prepared to provide targeted subsidies on essential commodities to the marginalised segments of society. 

He said that the premier would share details of this programme in the next few days while the benefits of this programme would start reaching the people by the end of the next month, he said.

This would be achieved by reducing taxes on edible oil. Sales tax on edible oil will be cut from 17 percent to 8.5 percent. The government has decided in principle to reduce the edible oil price by Rs45-Rs50 per kilogram.

Asad said that the government had also substantially reduced taxes on petroleum products to minimise the impact of the price hike in the world market.

He pointed out that crude oil prices had increased by as much as 81.55 percent over the past 12 months in the global market while in Pakistan, the prices had only been increased by 17.55 percent.

On petrol, hH

He said the government had reduced GST on petrol from 17 percent to 6.8 percent and the Petroleum Development Levy from Rs30 to Rs5.62 per liter. “Petrol is more expensive in India than Pakistan,” he said.

Asad said the sales tax on diesel had also been reduced from 17 percent to 10.03 percent and the petroleum development levy from Rs30 to Rs5.14 per liter.

Referring to talks with the IMF, he said he was not part of the current talks between the donor agency and Pakistan. In 2019, the IMF’s demands had been met within the exchange rate, tax, electricity and gas rates after that the conditions were relaxed.

He criticised the PML-N and said that Pakistan had been included in FATF gray list during the previous PML-N tenure. The IMF programme was tough for PTI than the PML-N and it was not because of the country’s foreign policy.

The reason was the misdeeds committed by the previous government during its five years in power, Asad concluded.


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