KARACHI: The federal government has agreed to increase the margin of petroleum dealers by Rs 1.64 per litre in four instalments after a marathon meeting on Monday, averting a strike threatened by dealers.

The meeting, which lasted several hours, was chaired by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik and attended by Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) representatives, along with other stakeholders of the oil industry and government departments.

According to sources, the dealers’ margin would be increased by 41 paise per litre in each of the next four fortnights, starting from July 31. This would raise the oil prices by Rs 1.61 per litre, in addition to the revision, if any, made by the government.

Currently, the dealers’ margin is Rs6 per litre on petrol and diesel which would increase to Rs 7.64 after two months.

The PPDA chairman, Abdul Sami Khan, said dealers were not satisfied but agreed to avoid strikes. He added that the agreement between the dealers and the government also carried signatures of the Ogra chairman and director general.

The dealers had been demanding an increase of Rs5 per litre to Rs 11, citing high operational costs and low sales. They had also complained about the smuggling of diesel and petrol from Iran which, they claimed, had cut their sales by 30pc.

Last week, PPDA had called for a nationwide shutdown of petrol stations from July 22 if their margin was not raised. However, after successful negotiations with the petroleum minister on Friday, the strike was deferred till Monday.

Sources said it was agreed that the increase in margins would be decided based on actual data, acceptable to all concerned stakeholders. The government had also decided to collect petroleum dealers’ sales figures to ascertain their actual profit margin. It was not immediately known what was discussed in the July 24 meeting.