ISLAMABAD : The business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has strongly resented the decision of the government to make exorbitant hike in the prices of POL products in one go and called upon it to immediately withdraw this decision to save businesses and people from further troubles.
President ICCI, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said on Saturday that the people including business community were already facing severe problems due to devastations of Covid-19 pandemic and in such a situation making hike from 27 to 66 percent in the prices of petroleum products in one go was totally unjustified.
He said that the price of crude oil in the world market was still around 41 per barrel while based on existing tax rates and PSO’s import cost, the ex-refinery or import parity price was worked out at about Rs45 per litre and the ex-refinery cost of diesel was now estimated at about Rs43 per litre.
However, the government has increased the price of petrol and diesel to more than Rs.100 per liter, which was a great injustice with the people.
The ICCI President said that in the current scenario, the government should have reduced the price of electricity in proportion to the reduction in the prices of petroleum products to bring down the cost of doing business and to promote industrial and business activities in the country.
the government has turned the tide on hopes for improving the economy by increasing petroleum prices
He said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, business activities were already in decline and in this situation the government should have taken measures to reduce the cost of the manufacturing sector and make it easier to do business.
However, raising the price of petrol and diesel would further increase the cost of production activities, make transport more expensive and have a harmful effect on agriculture and other sectors, further hurting the economy as a whole.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that there was no justification to hike the price of petrol and diesel on the pretext of controlling smuggling.
He said that prevention of smuggling was the responsibility of the government machinery but putting more burden on the people in the name of controlling smuggling was by no means a good decision.
He said that the government has made petroleum products an important source of revenue collection which was not an appropriate move as the government was currently getting around Rs.47 per liter on petrol and diesel in terms of taxes and petroleum levy.
He stressed that in view of the current difficult situation, the government should bring down the taxes and petroleum levy on petroleum products to give relief to the business community and reduce inflation.
The ICCI President said that most of the electricity in Pakistan was generated from oil sources due to which the price of our electricity was higher in the region and this has multiplied the cost of doing business due to which our exports were unable to compete at global market.
He said that government should reduce taxes on petroleum products that would help reduce the cost of doing business and promote business activities to strengthen the economy of the country.
(With input from INP)