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Cash-Strapped Pakistan Hikes Petrol Price By Rs 10 Per Litre

Pakistan hikes petrol price by Rs 10 per litre amid economic crisis and inflation, as the country struggles to secure a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and faces the risk of defaulting on external debt obligations. Inflation for March 2023 hits 35%, with food prices spiraling out of control, and the IMF lowering its economic growth rate forecast for Pakistan.

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Cash-strapped Pakistan has hiked petrol price by Rs 10 per litre, amid the country’s ongoing economic crisis and steep currency devaluation, further burdening citizens who are already hit by skyrocketing inflation. After the latest revision, petrol price has now risen to Rs 282 per litre. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced the hike in a late-night live address, during which he said the prices of diesel and light diesel oil would remain unchanged at Rs 293 and Rs 174.68 respectively. The price of kerosene was also hiked by Rs 5.78 to Rs 186.07. “The new prices will be effective from 12am on Sunday (April 16),” the finance minister said.

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Dar acknowledged these revisions were necessary as prices of petroleum products increased in the international market over the past 15 days. Oil prices spiked after Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC +), announced earlier this month that they would cut output. Debt-ridden Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have failed to reach a staff-level agreement on the much-needed USD 1.1 billion bailout package aimed at preventing the country from going bankrupt. The funds are part of a USD 6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical if Pakistan is to avoid defaulting on external debt obligations.

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday disclosed that Army Chief General Asim Munir played a role in securing funds from Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- a pre-condition by the IMF to seal a bailout deal with the cash-strapped nation. Inflation for March 2023 clocked in at 35 per cent, which is amongst the highest-ever levels. For the more vulnerable segments, inflation is close to 50 per cent, as food prices spiral out of control, according to The News. The IMF recently lowered its forecast for Pakistan's economic growth rate from 2 per cent to a mere 0.5 per cent for the current fiscal year. Pakistan is on the verge of default with just over USD 4 billion in reserves.

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