Lahore - The Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has said that full benefit of historic oil price fall, which has declined to $35 a barrel in the international market, have not been passed on the public. In the same way, the businesses as well as the masses are also being deprived of the real impact of massive drop in prices of natural gas globally, as the government is committed to hike the gas tariff further.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that following the decline in oil prices, not only have the GST rates on these products been raised substantially but also insidiously import duties have been levied.

PIAF Chairman, who was back from his almost month-long visit to the US and other European countries, stated that even the developed world was giving full relief to its consumers by minimizing the prices of petroleum products.

“No impact of relief of oil prices’ drop was seen in any sector despite the fact that dozens of sectors are directly linked to oil prices and hundreds of items are byproducts of petroleum.”

The government should also announce cut in power tariff in line with reduction in oil prices as around 70 per cent of electricity is generated through oil. He said major commodities and services are relatively more sensitive to changes in oil prices.

He said that federal government has increased the sales tax on diesel to record high of 50 percent, depriving the people, especially growers of the benefit of falling prices in the international markets.

“The government is presently charging tax of around Rs18 to 34 per liter on various petroleum products, as the import price of petrol is Rs39.94 per liter while the price in the market is Rs73.76 per liter. Similarly, diesel’s import price is Rs40.54 and government has fixed its rate at Rs84.04 per liter. In the same way, kerosene’s import price is Rs38.43 but government is charging the price at Rs57.14 per liter.”

Irfan Sheikh said that the unprecedented levy on diesel would discourage the use of 80 per cent tube wells for upcoming crops which will indirectly hit major industrial sectors of the country.

According to him, the FBR revenues are falling short of the target due to the continuous decline in oil prices, inefficiencies of the tax machinery, politically motivated tax concessions and lax enforcement of the existing laws and imposition of taxes on oil prices is easy way to grab the money of public.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also asked Pakistan to take additional steps to mitigate the impact of the steep decline in tax collection by the FBR, he said.