The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has slammed the government decision to increase prices of all petroleum products for the month of August despite the fact that their prices in international market have come down and called upon it to immediately withdraw the recent hike in POL products as it would further enhance the cost of doing business and unleash a new wave of inflation for the common man who is already feeling crushed by high prices of all daily use items.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal President and Rafat Farid Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the POL prices have been hiked at a time when the crude oil price in world market has dropped by 14 percent to $61.89 per barrel on August 03, 2019 from $72 on April 28, 2019, which was quite strange. They said that government had also been increasing tax rates on POL products making them a source of revenue collection, which was unjustified. The government was currently charging 17 percent GST on all POL products besides charging petroleum levy of Rs.14 per litre on petrol, Rs.18 per litre on HSD, Rs.3 per litre on kerosene and Rs.6 per litre on LDO, which was unjustified.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that while in opposition, Imran Khan had been severely criticizing the then government for hiking prices of POL products and charging heavy taxes on them, but now in power, he was following the similar approach that was increasing heavy burden on business sector and the general public. He said that petrol was a key input for many industries while diesel was key input for transport and agriculture sectors. He said that every hike in petroleum products directly increased cost of doing business and pushed up inflation for people.
ICCI President said that repeated hike by the current government in POL products, gas and electricity tariffs has badly eroded Pakistan’s competitiveness due to which the country was losing business activities, exports, investment and economic growth. He said for the first time in the last 6 years, the inflation in Pakistan has touched the double digit that has significantly squeezed the purchasing power of the common man due to which businesses were badly suffering. He urged that government should immediately withdraw the recent hike in petroleum products as it would further destabilize the economy and push the country into deep troubles.