LAHORE - The business community on Thursday rejected the increase in the prices of petroleum products terming it a wrong decision which will hit the economy hard.

The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front former chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh condemned the government for increasing prices of petroleum products up to Rs6 per liter, terming it bad news for the country’s economy, as this hike in fuel rates would lead to increased cost of production cost of doing business as well.

He demanded the government to withdraw the hike immediately, saying it would ruin the manufacturing sector entirely. He, while strongly reacting on this anti-industry and anti-masses decision, said that government did not ever bother to pass on the benefit of decrease of oil prices in international market and earned billion rupees, which was a sheer injustice and now made a huge raise. He said that the timeline for the increase in the prices of petroleum products was also raising questions. He said that at a time when the whole industry was suffering due to high cost of doing business, the raise in POL prices was bound to give a further blow to the industry.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the business community had for the last many months been calling on the concerned government circles 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 demanded of the government to withdraw raise in the prices of POL products otherwise industry would be collapsed within no time and government would lose main source of revenue.

FPCCI president Ghazanfar Bilour said that business community will never allow the government to damage the economy and make the life of people miserable to please international lenders. Ghazanfar Bilour said that those who had claimed to transform Pakistan into a welfare state have disappointed masses as well as the business community through their performance.