International Monetory Fund has suggested further hike of the fuel price in the country. If its suggestion of multilateral agency is accepted, fuel price will be hiked once again within five months. It will be another record for the four-party alliance government that revised the gasoline prices upward more repeatedly than any other previous government.
During the tenure of this government, fuel prices were revised eight times. Between May 24 and June 19, 2005, government adjusted the fuel prices thrice and the latest was done on September 5 of the same year.
Will be it be really wise for the government to increase fuel prices again as per the recommendation of the IMF? The IMF official who was on a recent visit to the country remarked that the present petroleum pricing policy benefits the higher income consumers dropping hints as if farmers consume insignificant amount of gasoline and so they would not be affected by a price hike.
Although the government defended the IMF advice and pointed to the fact that highest consumers of diesel and kerosene are from the low income group, it appears to have forgotten the middle class who are also hit badly with this kind of measures. We believe that some times an insignificant number of people gets priority in the socio-economic policies. The IMF has overlooked the middle income groups who are majority of the city population and always badly affected by inflation and tax revision, VAT imposed or utility charge adjustment. It can be said that they suffer badly than the poor or richer sections of people. Poor people avoid many daily necessities because of their helplessness and the rich people hardly face financial hurdle in having their ends met.
When procurement prices demand inevitable adjustment of the fuel prices to the international level, the government or the IMF experts can suggest ways such adjustment to have effect only on the richer section of people. We have posh areas and there are automobiles which only affluent people use the number of this section of population is not insignificant in the country. But no one suggests any measure that may go against the privileged group because they belong to the government and are favourites of the donors.