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Fuel Dealers’ Nationwide Closure from July 22

The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) has made a significant announcement that could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s fuel supply. Starting from July 22, petrol stations across Pakistan will be closed indefinitely as fuel dealers demand an increase in their margins. This decision comes as a response to their grievances regarding the lack of action against rampant smuggling of Iranian petrol and diesel, causing substantial losses to authorized petroleum dealers.

Fuel Dealers Demand a Marginal Increase:

At a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club, Abdul Sami Khan, the spokesperson for the PPDA, expressed the association’s dissatisfaction with the current margin of Rs6 per liter. They are demanding a substantial increase of Rs5, which would bring the margin to Rs11 per liter. The association claims that this adjustment is essential to maintain the viability of their businesses amid rising expenses and inflation rates.

Iranian Petrol Smuggling Causes Revenue Decline:

Abdul Sami Khan accused the government of turning a blind eye to the unauthorized sale of Iranian petrol and diesel in the country. The illicit trade has reportedly resulted in a staggering 30% decline in revenues for authorized petroleum dealers. Despite repeatedly attempting to bring the issue to the attention of the Minister of State for Petroleum, they claim to have received no response.

Concerns About Smuggling at the Border:

The spokesperson highlighted that 20 dealers have had their licenses cancelled for selling Iranian petrol. While he acknowledged the presence of unscrupulous individuals within the association, he stressed that the Balochistan chief minister has confirmed the petrol sold originates from the bordering Iran. Abdul Sami further revealed that Iranian petrol and diesel are openly sold at “box-pumps” in Hub Chowki, near the border of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, at a rate 55 rupees lower than the official price. The fear of potential repercussions from smuggling organizations has reportedly hindered customs’ intelligence officials from taking action against those involved.

Impact of Rising Inflation and Expenses:

The ongoing inflation crisis in Pakistan, with rates reaching a record high of 28% compared to the previous year, has added to the challenges faced by petroleum dealers. Other expenses, such as interest rates and electricity bills, have also surged, putting additional strain on their businesses.

Conclusion:

The nationwide closure of petrol pumps starting July 22 by the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association highlights the pressing issues faced by fuel dealers in the country. Demanding a margin increase and raising concerns over Iranian petrol smuggling, the association hopes to draw attention to the challenges threatening their livelihoods. As the closure continues indefinitely, it remains to be seen how the government will respond and address the dealers’ demands and concerns, ensuring a stable and reliable fuel supply for the nation.

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