Pakistan has announced a record increase in fuel prices days before the end of a fiscal year in which the country’s economy contracted for the first time in 68 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hike, which ranges from 27 percent to 66 percent depending on the petroleum product, was announced Friday night. It drew nationwide condemnation from people on social media Saturday.
The move comes two weeks after Islamabad said its GDP in the outgoing fiscal year ending on June 30 will shrink by 0.4 percent, instead of an initially projected 2.4 percent growth.
Pakistan’s economy has witnessed a steady decline since 2018, when Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government came into power.
Its economy has been affected by the coronavirus since March, when Khan put the country under lockdown. Restrictions were eased in May, causing a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Pakistan has confirmed 198,883 virus cases, including 4,035 deaths.