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PESHAWAR: The business community has expressed grave concern over the frequent increase in the oil prices and value of dollar and urged the caretaker government to take immediate steps to control a possible wave of price hike in the country.

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zahid Shinwari said while the dollar’s price had risen to Rs122 in the open market, the government had increased the rates of petroleum products which would lead to unprecedented price hike, and the poor would be forced to agitate.

The foreign loans, he said would further increase and the rates of at least 70 imported items would increase manifold, adding the business community was not expecting the caretaker setup to hit the poor people with such a ‘huge bomb’ of price hike.

Mr Shinwari said the only reason of the increasing rate of dollar and petroleum products was negligence of the rulers who had failed to focus on repayment of the foreign loans and to improve the decreasing volume of the foreign trade.

He said the value of Pakistani currency was fast decreasing as a result of the agreements with the International Monitory Fund, World Bank and other financial institutions. He said the people would be unable to purchase the daily use items if the government did not take immediate steps to control rupee depreciation and bring down the prices of petroleum products.

Mr Shinwari said that the increase in sales tax on petroleum products would badly affect the commerce, export and industrial sectors, which were lifeline of the national economy.

The SCCI chief urged the caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk and finance minister Shamshad Akhtar to save the national economy, avoid increase in the petroleum products and control rupee devaluation.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018