Oil imports from Russia; a ray of hope for cheaper fuel.

ISLAMABAD -- Fluctuating global oil prices, devaluation of the currency, taxation on oil imports and very low local oil exploration put a heavy strain on the fragile economy of a country like Pakistan which heavily relies on oil import for power generation industrial production and transportation.

The soaring prices of petroleum products have a trickle-down effect on each and every segment of society from a daily wager to a farmer, and from a government servant to a businessman.

When petroleum prices are increased, the cost of transportation rises, taking the rates of daily-use items to a new height, thus affecting the buying power of consumers which has already gone down a lot in recent years.

Similarly, the majority being run on oil, the power plants generate high-cost electricity which ultimately put a burden not only on consumers but also affects industrial production costs bringing a new wave of inflation.

Recognizing the magnitude of this challenge, the incumbent government took some measures to alleviate the impact such as providing subsidies to public transportation and food producers. However, it was clear that these measures alone were insufficient to fully mitigate the effects of the price hike.

Then, in a game-changing move, the government struck a deal with one of the biggest oil exporters, Russia, not only to alleviate people's suffering but also to stimulate national economic growth and expansion. The deal aims at ensuring a continuous supply of crude oil from Russia at discounted rates.

"The first shipment of discounted oil from Russia is on its way and is expected to dock at the Karachi Port sometime in May," this encouraging news was shared by State Minister for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik, during a press conference here on May 18.

In April, he informed the media that Pakistan had placed its initial order for discounted Russian oil as part of a signed deal with Moscow.

The announcement of the agreement provided a ray of hope for the masses, who had been grappling with inflation and increased oil prices since the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the government in July 2017.

The development also started off debates with some arguing that importing crude oil from Russia would not benefit Pakistan due to the lack of refineries here, but they were unaware that the petroleum ministry and the Prime Minister (PM) office had already addressed this issue.

On April 29, after confirming Pakistan's first order of discounted Russian crude oil...

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