ISLAMABAD              -         The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has resented the OGRA’s move for recommending up to around 214 percent hike in gas prices to the government from January 2020. The ICCI termed the decision of increasing gas prices as an anti-people and anti-business move that would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country and cause further slowdown in the business activities.

Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, President, Tahir Abbasi, Senior Vice President, and Saif ur Rahman Khan, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry have said that promoting industrial activities and exports should be the key focus of the government to steer the economy out of current challenges. However, they said that the recommended increase in gas prices would further enhance the manufacturing cost making our products and exports more uncompetitive in the international market. It would cause significant decline in production activities and exports of the country, they cautioned.

ICCI Office Bearers said that proposed increase in gas prices would make roti and other eatables costlier for the common man. They said that the price domestic cylinders would also go up bringing additional miseries to the poor people. They said that LNG price has already gone up while price of CNG would also become costly leading to further hike in transportation cost. They said that the move has the potential to create social disturbance and give rise to more problems for the government, therefore, they stressed that government should avoid taking such harsh decisions.

Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that growth of business activities was directly linked with the purchasing power of people. He said that increase in inflation caused by hike in gas prices would further reduce the purchasing power of people leading to sharp slowdown in the growth of business activities. He urged that to save the business sector and the common man from further troubles, government should reject OGRA’s proposal for increase in gas prices. He further emphasized that government should focus on bringing drastic reforms in gas companies to reduce their losses and improve service delivery.