The Pakistani government collected a significant sum of Rs75 billion in revenue from the petroleum levy (PL) in July 2023. This levy is a crucial income source because it’s not part of the divisible pool. The increase in the petrol levy to Rs55 per litre has driven this boost in revenue.

If this pattern continues for the remaining 11 months of the fiscal year, the government could surpass its ambitious budget target for the petroleum levy. The target of Rs869 billion might be exceeded by a notable Rs31 billion.

In July, the first month of the fiscal year, petroleum consumption decreased by 6 per cent compared to the same month in the previous fiscal year. However, when we look at the month-to-month basis, petroleum product consumption remained constant in July 2023 compared to the previous month.

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An anonymous source from the Petroleum Division, speaking to Brecorder, expressed the government’s concern about the potential decline in consumption. Such a decline could jeopardise meeting the budget goals. However, the government has a plan in place. If needed, the petroleum levy could be increased to Rs60 per litre, which is the maximum limit according to an agreement with the IMF under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) and the Finance Act 2023–24.

Predictions for the current month point to a collection of Rs70 billion from the petroleum levy due to recent price increases of Rs17.50 per litre for petrol and Rs20 per litre for high-speed diesel (HSD).

The government has committed, under the ongoing IMF SBA, to gradually raising the levy rate to an average of Rs55 per litre over the fiscal year. This strategic move is estimated to bring in an additional Rs79 billion. Currently, the government enforces a petroleum levy of Rs55 per litre on petrol and Rs50 per litre on HSD.

Keep in mind that any rise in the petroleum levy on fuel products could lead to inflation, increasing transportation costs for goods and people as well as input expenses for various sectors.

Oil industry experts speculate that gasoline prices might increase further by the end of the month. This projected increase is mainly due to the ongoing depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar, which is likely to reduce gasoline consumption.

In the last fiscal year, the government collected Rs580 billion from the petroleum levy, falling short of the Rs855 billion target by Rs275 billion.

During the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022–23 (July–September 2022), the collection of the petroleum levy was Rs47.476 billion. This lower amount was due to the lower levy rates of Rs10 on petrol and Rs5 on HSD. Subsequently, collections increased significantly to Rs177.805 billion in the first two quarters (July–December) and further to Rs362.480 billion in the first three quarters (July–March 2023) of the previous fiscal year.

It’s noteworthy that total consumption of petroleum products dropped by 27 per cent year-on-year in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023. Consumption decreased from 22.6 million metric tonnes in the fiscal year 2021–22 to 16.61 million metric tonnes in 2022–23 (July–June).