LAHORE, April 1: Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has expressed disappointment on recent cut in POL prices and termed it a joke with the masses and business community.

PIAF Chairman Malik Tahir Javed, Senior Vice-Chairman Khamis Saeed Butt and Vice-Chairman Amjad Ali Jawa said in a joint statement on Monday that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had made bulk increases in the petroleum prices but did not bother to pass on the benefit of decrease in oil prices in the international market to consumers.

They said POL was a basic raw material for the industrial sector and the government should considerably cut their prices keeping in view the ground realities.

Meanwhile, PIAF also expressed grave concern over the widening fiscal deficit and called for immediate legislation to plug loopholes in the financial and revenue collection systems.

PIAF Chairman Malik Tahir Javaid said in a separate statement on Monday that repeated revisions in tax collection target and unimaginable increase in fiscal deficit were an indication of the fact that the overall financial system was not working the way it was supposed to.

He said since the entire system needed overhaul, the caretaker prime minister should, in consultation with the private sector, form a new set of reforms for the sake of expansion in the tax net.

“If the prime minister understands that there is a need for imposition of some sort of financial emergency to avoid further borrowing from internal and external sources, he should declare it,” he said.

The PIAF chairman said unavailability of electricity, deteriorating law and order situation, lowest-ever local and foreign investment and heavy borrowings by the previous government had already affected the manufacturing sector to the maximum. And these things had put the economy at stake.

He said during the last five years neither any considerable work was done to increase the GDP nor any serious measures were taken for the expansion in the tax base and “today the country has been heading towards a point of no return in financial terms.”

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