The Supreme Court demanded audit reports on prices of petroleum products and their tax rates from related authorities this Wednesday. According to the SC, the petroleum departments of Pakistan increase taxes whenever international prices fall instead of giving relief to the public.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said that prices of petroleum products remain high even when international prices are falling because the government keeps imposing taxes. Additionally, the SC remarked that general sales tax (GST) on petroleum products is as high as 25% when it should be adjusted with international prices.
Additional Attorney General (AAG) Nassar, who was also present in the court, was addressed by the CJP for “jacking up” sales tax on petrol products. To his claim, the AAG said that Pakistan has the lowest GST in the entire region, and that India charges 27% for similar items.
Persuasively, the CJP remarked “don’t compare the prices with India. Do we have any comparison with India, say in the field of IT?”. Justice Ijazul Ahsan added that prices of petroleum products in Pakistan have remained high despite the fact that crude oil prices have lowered from $100 to $50 per barrel overseas.
“We don’t decide the prices based on crude oil,” responded the AAG, who also told the hearing that the total price also includes additional taxes other than sales tax such as customs duties and petroleum levy. According to him, only 11.4% GST is currently being charged on such products.
At the end of the session, the court ordered all relevant authorities to submit written audit reports and details related to taxes charged on petroleum products.