After government guarantee gasoline merchants end their strike.
The government and owners of gas stations have agreed to raise their profit margins by Rs. 1.64 per litre on both gasoline and diesel. As a result the dealers have decided to cancel their strike that was set to begin on Monday July 24.
In order to prevent a sudden rise in the price of petroleum products which would add to the burden on those already suffering from inflation the margins would be raised gradually over the next two months Aug to Sept.
In accordance with this, the government will raise their margin in each of the four next weekly pricing meetings by Rs0.41 per litre, divided into four equal halves.
Currently, both diesel and gasoline have a Rs 7 per litre profit margin. After taxes and the franchise fee, the dealers get Rs. 6.20 per litre.
Former Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association PPDA chairman Malik Khuda Baksh said in a conversation with The Express Tribune that the first rise of Rs0.41 per litre would go into effect on August 1 2023 and the final one would go into force in the middle of September 2023.
It was learned that the agreement between the government and the dealers was achieved after a lengthy meeting that lasted seven hours.
At the end of the meeting,
PPDA Chairman Abdul Sami Khan remarked in a statement to the media that the dealers were hesitant to accept the rise in profit margin, which was much lower than the one of 5% promised.
This 5% is to Rs 12 per liter in total. Fuel prices are now Rs 253 for gasoline and Rs 253.50 for diesel per liter.
To avoid going on strike, we have accepted the government’s offer, he said.
He claimed that an agreement had been reached and was ratified by the chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority OGRA the director general of oil and the PPDA chairman.
In order to put pressure on the government to raise their profit margins to the stated level of 5%, the petroleum dealers had already planned a shutter-down strike that would last for an indeterminate time starting on July 22, 2023.
After State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik promised them in a meeting on Friday that the government will increase its margins in two days, they ultimately decided to postpone the strike by two days until July 24 (Monday).
According to sources, the government refused to move during the meeting despite offering to raise the dealers’ margin by Rs1.64 per litre.
The dealers, however, persisted in insisting to the government that the provided margins were low.
The dealers said that many owners of petrol pumps were either making no profit at all as a result of the huge increase in inflation, which also included an increase in electricity rates, or were losing money while the dealers were making losses owing to poor sales.
LPG dealers have called for a strike on August 5 and 6, but Pakistan LPG Marketers Association (PLPGMA) office-bearers rejected the request, saying it would just make things worse for customers and serve no purpose.
In a statement, Vice Chairman Muhammad Ali Haider claimed that a few special interests were leading legitimate association members and LPG distributors astray.
The gas was being sold in black when the strike call was made by the merchants.
“Those who have stored LPG to sell at a higher price have called for the strike.”
The PLPGMA reiterated that their store will stay open while announcing dissociation from the strike.