LAHORE/ISLAMABAD – The business community has strongly protested against the second consecutive increase in the prices of petroleum products by the caretaker government in its short tenure.
The businessmen, rejecting oil price hike , termed it an unfortunate decision as it would unleash a new wave of inflation for the common man and badly affect the growth of business activities. They called for urgent withdrawal of the recent hike in POL prices in order to save the general public and the economy from further troubles. They said that instead of hiking POL prices, government should reduce heavy taxes and levies on these products to facilitate the growth of economic activities.
Sheikh Amir Waheed, president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the caretaker government on 11th June 2018 had hiked the price of petrol by Rs4.26 per litre, diesel by Rs6.55 and kerosene by Rs4.46 per litre while from 1st July 2018, it again increased the price of petrol by Rs7.54 per litre, diesel by Rs.14 and kerosene oil by Rs3.36 per litre. Thus the caretaker government has so far made a cumulative increase of Rs11.80 per litre in petrol price, Rs20.55 in diesel and Rs7.82 per litre in kerosene oil price which is unjustified as it would add to the miseries of the common man and put negative impact on trade and industry.
He said that in Pakistan major chunk of electricity was produced through furnace oil which has significantly increased the cost of production making exports uncompetitive in the international market. He said that exports have been struggling for the last many years while the twice increase in the price of petroleum products in a short span of time would make exportable products more uncompetitive in international market leading to further slump in exports and economic growth. Therefore, he called upon the government to revise its decision and withdraw the recent hike in POL prices to save the country from further difficulties. He said the caretaker government should focus on successful holding of elections and leave the major policy decisions to the next elected government.