Islamabad - The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has strongly protested against the second consecutive increase in the prices of petroleum products by the caretaker government in its short tenure.

The ICCI has termed it an unfortunate decision as it would unleash a new wave of inflation for the common man and would badly affect the growth of business activities. It called for urgent withdrawal of the recent hike in POL prices in order to save the general public and the economy from further troubles.

Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the caretaker government on 11th June 2018 had hiked the price of petrol by Rs.4.26 per litre, diesel by Rs.6.55 and kerosene by Rs.4.46 per litre while from 1st July 2018, it has again increased the price of petrol by Rs.7.54 per litre, diesel by Rs.14 and kerosene oil by Rs.3.36 per litre. Thus the caretaker government has so far made a cumulative increase of Rs.11.80 per litre in petrol price, Rs.20.55 in diesel and Rs.7.82 per litre in kerosene oil price which is unjustified as it would add to the miseries of the common man and put negative impact on trade and industry.

He said that in Pakistan a major chunk of electricity was produced through furnace oil which has significantly increased the cost of production making our exports uncompetitive in the international market. He said that our exports have been struggling for the last many years while twice the increase in the price of petroleum products in a short span of time would make our exportable products more uncompetitive in the international market leading to a further slump in exports and economic growth.

Therefore, he called upon the government to revise its decision and withdraw the recent hike in POL prices to save the country from further difficulties. He said the caretaker government should focus on successful and smooth elections and leave major policy decisions to the next elected government.

Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed Malik and Vice President ICCI Nisar Mirza, said that the increase in diesel price would further enhance transportation cost and create problems for agriculture sector as most of the tube wells were running on diesel.

They said that the government has imposed many taxes on POL products as it was receiving 27.5 percent GST on HSD and 17 percent GST on other POL products. Moreover, it was charging Rs.8 per litre on HSD as petroleum levy and Rs.10 per litre on petrol.  They urged that instead of hiking POL prices, government should reduce heavy taxes and levies on these products to facilitate the growth of economic activities.