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Businesses reject hike in POL prices

KARACHI, April 2: The trade and industry representatives have asked the government to immediately withdraw the unjustified hike in petroleum and CNG prices, saying the decision will further cripple the industrial and commercial activities.

In a press release, Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) Ehtesham Uddin said that petroleum prices were already at the highest level and any further increase would prove devastating for the industrial base.

“A comparison between the international oil prices and local prices is enough to make the point that the local prices have registered more than 50 per cent increase in the last two years.

The government has no justification in increasing POL prices,” he said.

The KATI chief said that the entire industrial sector was already facing multiple internal and external challenges and any new increase in POL prices would further aggravate the economic situation.

Former KATI chief Mian Zahid Hussain said that instead of passing on any surge in international market to the masses, the government should cut the number of taxes on petroleum products.

“Due to the high cost of doing business, a large number of industrial units have already shifted their operations to other countries and the recent decision would force more industrialists to follow suit,” he noted.

The increase in petroleum prices would increase the input cost of agriculture production as high speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery, he added.

Former Vice President FPCCI Tariq Saeed urged the government to take measures to increase development in the field of trade and industries like India, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Iran.

He said there is a dire need to buy electricity at low rates from China and Iran in order to control the power crisis in the country.

According to FPCCI’s press release, former president FPCCI S. M. Muneer said that such harsh decision of POL price hike without consultation and consent of stakeholder may result in widespread discontentment in the business community.

FPCCI Vice-President Shakeel Ahmed Dhingra said the increase in petroleum products would ultimately escalate the cost of production depressing the overall economic activities particularly the Large-Scale Manufacturing (LSM).