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LAHORE, Sept 8: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has warned the government of a protest movement if any further increase is made in the prices of petroleum products.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said the chamber in consultation with all trade and industrial associations would also launch movement against weekly price review of the petroleum products and the federal government would be responsible for any untoward situation.

“The business community is unable to understand that under which law the government is making repeated upward increases in the petroleum prices when it always purchases POL products for three months.”

He said the government should revisit its petroleum prices fixation formula and make it acceptable to business community that is the main stakeholder in all economic policies.

Sheikh asked as to how a businessman would be able to calculate the prices of his merchandise when he is unaware of their input cost. “It is not the electricity alone that has destroyed economic activity but the government itself is responsible for economic meltdown by taking steps like petrol price hike.”

He said the LCCI had time and again asked the government to take all chambers of commerce onboard while taking industry-related decisions but to no avail.

“If repeated increase in the fuel prices would be made, the entire economy would suffer and the same happened in Pakistan in the last many months as the repeated hikes in the POL prices had ruined the industrial and economic activities.”

The LCCI president said only because of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, a large number of industrial units had already shifted their operations to other countries and the recent decision would force more industrialists to shift their industrial units.

He said the government was producing huge amount of electricity through thermal means and after increase in petroleum prices, rates of electricity would touch new highs.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said the chamber had for the last many years been calling on successive governments to take measures for the promotion of alternate fuels as trade deficit was fast widening due to heavy imports under the head of petroleum products.

He was of the view that the timeline for increase in the prices of petroleum products was also raising questions because at a time when the whole industry was suffering due to energy crisis and high cost of doing business, the raise in POL prices would give a death blow to the industry.