LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday warned the government of serious consequences if it makes any further increase in the prices of petroleum products.

In a statement issued here, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that a series of protests, in consultation with all the trade and industrial associations, would be launched against increase in petroleum products prices and the federal government would be responsible for any untoward situation.

The LCCI President said that the business community was unable to understand that under what law the government is making repeated upward increases in the petroleum prices when it always makes POL products purchases for three months.

He said that the government should revisit its petroleum prices fixation formula and make it acceptable to business community that is the main stakeholder to all economic policies.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh asked as to how a businessman would be able to calculate the prices of his merchandise when he is unaware of their input cost. It is not the electricity alone that has destroyed economic activity but the government itself is responsible for economic meltdown by taking steps like petrol hike.

He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had a number of times asked the government to take Chambers of Commerce onboard while taking industry-related decisions but to no avail.

“If repeated increase in the fuel prices would be made, the entire economy would suffer and the same happened in Pakistan in the last many months as the repeated hikes in the POL prices had ruined the industrial and economic activities.”

The LCCI President said that only because of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, a large number of industrial units had already shifted their operations to other countries and the recent decision would force more industrialists to shift their industrial units.

He said that Government is producing huge amount of electricity through thermal means and after increase in petroleum prices, prices of electricity would touch new highs.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had for the last many years 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 was of the view that the timeline for the increase in the prices of petroleum products was also raising questions because at a time when the whole industry was suffering due to energy crisis and high cost of doing business, the raise in POL prices is bound to give a death blow to the industry. “It seems that it is an attempt to create troubles for the government.”