(Oil prices in Pakistan lowest in world: Hammad)

ISLAMABAD:Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar has said the oil prices in Pakistan are lowest in the world.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Friday, Hammad Azhar said we have brought down the Petroleum Development Levy to two percent. He said the figures given by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on poverty and unemployment were full of contradictions. He reminded the PPP Chairman that the inflation rate in their era was much higher than the present 8.50 percent.

Hammad Azhar said the country’s economy has entered into the growth phase with foreign exchange reserves standing at six years high and current account deficit in surplus. Referring to the bumper crops of wheat and sugarcane and maize, he said the benefit of this directly reached the farmers as we ensured that they get the due price of their produce.

He said we have a comprehensive plan to address the capacity payments in the power sector. He said the present government enhanced the capacity of power transmission system and one hundred billion rupees have been set aside in the budget to further improve it. Participating in the budget debate, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the budget envisages relief for the rich but not the poor.

He said the PTI had promised to provide ten million jobs but it has rendered the people jobless. He said the budget for next fiscal year will further overburden the salaried class. He said when the PPP was in power it had significantly enhanced the salaries and pensions to reduce their difficulties.

He said agriculture is backbone of the economy but the government has allocated only twelve billion rupees for this sector in the budget. He said there are no subsidies in the budget for the farmers. He said the government should review its agriculture policy and provide support to the farmers.