The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has expressed great resentment against another hike in the prices of petroleum products as it would further enhance the cost of doing business in the country and bring a new wave of high inflation for the common man making his life more miserable.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the people were already facing great difficulties due to high inflation and the business community was also struggling to combat the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. In these tough times, the government has increased the price of petrol by Rs.5.40 and diesel by Rs.2.54 per litre that would unleash a new wave of inflation besides further increasing the cost of doing business in the country.
ICCI President said that from January to July 2021, the government has raised the petrol price by over 14% and diesel by over 5% as the price of petrol has gone up from around Rs.103/litre on 1st January 2021 to its highest level of over Rs.118/litre while the price of diesel has surged from around Rs.110/litre to over Rs.116/litre till date. He said that the government had already put an additional burden of Rs.135 billion on power consumers by increasing power tariff by Rs.2.97/unit in July while another hike in POL prices would make businesses very uncompetitive in the domestic and international markets. He said that the repeated hikes in the prices of POL products and utility tariffs would shatter the confidence of investors as they needed predictable and consistent prices and tariffs regimes to make investment in Pakistan. He stressed that the government should withdraw all taxes and petroleum levy on POL products to provide some relief to the people.
Fatma Azim Senior Vice President and Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI said that in the current difficult circumstances, the government should have taken measures to reduce inflation and production cost that would have enabled trade and industrial activities to flourish in the country. But instead of providing relief, the government is taking steps that would further enhance the manufacturing cost making our products more uncompetitive for exports besides pushing up inflation across the country. They said that raising the price of petrol and diesel would further increase the cost of manufacturing, transport, agriculture inputs and would have a harmful impact on the overall economy, therefore, the decision should be revised.