PM unveils petrol subsidy scheme for the poor.

ISLAMABAD -- Amid all-time high fuel prices in the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a relief package on Sunday for the poor under which a subsidy of Rs50 will be given to them on every litre of petrol.

'Low-income people will be given a subsidy of Rs50 per litre under the petroleum relief package,' said a press release issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The PM, after presiding over a review meeting on the relief package, said the relief would be given to those low-income consumers who have motorcycles, rickshaws, 800cc cars or other small cars.

He said implementation of the petroleum subsidy scheme would begin soon with the cooperation of departments concerned.

How the scheme will be implemented remains unclear

Musadik Malik, the Minister of State for Petroleum, gave a briefing about the nuts and bolts for implementing the scheme.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to PM Ahad Cheema, Special Assistant Tariq Bajwa, the finance and petroleum secretaries, and other high-ranking officials attended the meeting.

A source privy to the development told Dawn that the prime minister had discussed the package at a recent cabinet meeting, but nothing has been finalised regarding the mechanism to be followed to give relief to the low income groups.

The cabinet meeting was apprised that a total cross-subsidy of Rs120 billion was required to provide subsidised fuel to motorcyclists, rickshaws and 800cc cars.

There was a proposal that the targeted groups could be registered to get the cross-subsidy and must be linked with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to get a one-time password for receiving petrol at subsidised rates. According to the proposal, the beneficiaries must be qualified and registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). But the fact is that neither most of the motorbike owners have digital access to banks nor are they registered with the BISP.

It is feared that due to complications and attitude of petrol pump dealers, the plan may not become a successful endeavour.

The government raised the prices of petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs5 and...

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