Wednesday, July 8, 2009

POL prices cut on SC order

* Petrol price now Rs 50.58 per litre, HOBC Rs 62.54, kerosene oil Rs 52.89 and light diesel oil Rs 51.46

ISLAMABAD: The government reduced the prices of petroleum products on Tuesday after the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the implementation of the carbon surcharge and directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) earlier in the day to issue a notification.

According to an OGRA notification issued late on Tuesday, the government has withdrawn the carbon tax and reduced POL prices that would come into effect today (Wednesday).

According to the notification, petrol prices have been reduced by Rs 11.55 per litre to Rs 50.58 from 62.13, a reduction of 18.6 percent; HOBC prices by Rs 16.24 per litre to Rs 62.54 from 78.78, a reduction of 20 percent; kerosene oil prices by Rs 6.46 per litre to Rs 52.89 from Rs 59.35, a reduction of 11 percent; and light diesel oil prices by Rs 3.48 per litre to Rs 51.46 from Rs 54.94, a reduction of 6.33 percent.

Earlier on Tuesday, a three-member bench – headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – said the implementation of the carbon tax would remain suspended until a final decision in the case, and then adjourned proceedings until July 9.

PPP Senator Rukhsana Zubairi and PML-N Secretary General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra had filed separate petitions challenging the increase in petroleum prices.

In its short order, the court said as the government had made no effort to protect the environment through carbon tax, it had no right to charge people for the facility.

The court also summoned the environment secretary at the next hearing for an explanation on whether the ministry had proposed the carbon tax.

Appearing on notice, Attorney General Latif Khosa told the court that the government had to impose the tax in order to overcome the budget deficit.

The chief justice, however, observed that such decisions were not in accordance with good governance.

A judicial commission had earlier presented its interim report on rising oil prices in the country and proposed a “fair and proper cut” in petroleum prices.

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