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People are rushing to gas pumps in several cities across the country, fearing that the price of the commodity will rise as a result of the government’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
As a result of the panic, long queues formed at several petrol stations, especially in Faizabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Khushab, Gojra and Chills among other cities.
In some areas, citizens claim that petrol pumps are providing fuel for only Rs 200 to motorcycle owners and Rs 500 to car owners, while petrol seems to have run out in some areas. Owners of gas stations, on the other hand, said that traders of petroleum products have restricted their supply.
The artificial shortage, according to officials, is at a time when, according to traders and industry sources, banks have refused to finance and facilitate payments for imports due to the depletion of foreign exchange reserves.
Pakistan is facing a balance of payments crisis and the depreciation of the rupee is pushing up the cost of imported goods. Energy constitutes a large part of Pakistan’s income.
Pakistan typically supplies more than a third of its annual electricity needs using imported natural gas, the price of which has risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In response to media reports about fuel shortages and long queues of vehicles at petrol pumps, Musadiq Malik, the state minister for oil, asked where the country’s fuel ratio would be implemented. “After watching the news on Geo TV, I sent a message to OGRA [Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority] chaired and called the secretary,” he added.
The minister asked the news editor to tell the name of the specific region facing fuel shortage.
Malik said that this morning he held a meeting with representatives of all oil companies and added that the country has more than 20 days of gasoline and more than 25 days of diesel.
He also called on the owners of gas stations not to create panic among the people and rejected the possibility of an immediate increase in the price of gasoline.
“Until February 15, there is no possibility of increasing the price of gasoline,” he explained.
He added that the new price of petrol will be fixed according to the mechanism adopted by the federal government on the above date.
The federal minister strongly denied reports of fuel rationing, adding that some people may be involved in fuel hoarding. In the same breath, he also warned of administrative measures against people who are engaged in stockpiling gasoline.
In response to this question, Malik said that the ongoing dialogues with the IMF still have nothing to do with the price of gasoline in the country.