PESHAWAR: Business community, transporters and political activists have rejected the increase in the prices of petroleum products and asked the federal government to withdraw it to the relief of inflation-hit people.

The transporters warned that they would increase fare unilaterally or go for a wheel-jam strike if the government didn’t reverse oil price hike.

“We have convened a meeting of all groups of transporters at the Haji Camp Bus Terminal on Monday (Sept 18) to decide about a wheel-jam strike or fare increase,” Public Transport Owners Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Khan Zaman Afridi told Dawn on Saturday.

He said the increase of over Rs330 per litre in petroleum prices had increased the misery of both transporters and commuters and therefore, it was time to raise a “forceful voice against this injustice.”

Traders to launch street protests

Mr Afridi said transporters had around 10 unions of different categories and they all were united against the government’s decision to hike oil prices.

Also, the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry rejected the record increase in petroleum prices and called it detrimental to the country’s economy, businesses and industry.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, acting president of the SCCI Ijaz Khan Afridi said the unprecedented hike in prices of petroleum products would unleash a new storm of inflation to adversely affect the business community and people.

He urged the caretaker government to withdraw the hike in fuel prices in the best interest of the economy, businesses and industry and warned that the chamber along with traders would launch a protest movement against it.

Criticising the government’s “anti-business” policies, the SCCI leader said the business community had hoped that the caretakers would take measures for putting the ailing economy on the right track but they, instead of doing that, had endorsed the steps of the previous coalition government increasing the problems of traders.

He wondered how the national economy could improve when the business community faced an uncertain situation.

“No corrective measures have been taken place by the caretakers,” he said.

The SCCI chief asked the government to thoroughly review its economic policies and initiate consultation with chambers and other stakeholders to revive the crippling economy.

Fearing the recent whopping increase in fuel prices would further harm businesses and industry amid escalating electricity, gas and raw material rates, he said the price hike would increase the cost of industrial production and businesses.

Mr Afridi said the inflation-hit business community and people, who protested inflated bills, would suffer more after the massive increase in fuel prices.

He urged civil and military leadership to play their proactive role in putting the economy on the right track.

“If this doesn’t happen, the situation will worsen further harming the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party provincial leader Dr Khalil Mehmood Khalid resented the repeated increase in fuel prices and power tariff and asked the caretaker government to withdraw the decision.

He warned if the hike wasn’t reversed, then the people would be left with no option but to start street protests.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023

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