ICCI slams fuel price hike
ISLAMABAD – Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Friday slammed a massive hike in prices of petroleum products in one go.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, ICCI has criticised the government’s decision of raising prices of petroleum products by Rs30 per litre, which is the highest-ever increase in one go and termed it a very harsh decision that would unleash a new wave of high inflation for the people and make hefty increase in the production cost.
The decision will have a multiplier impact on the prices of goods at retail level, which would make the life of common man more miserable and squeeze their purchasing power leading to a highly negative impact on the growth of business activities. He urged that the government should immediately reconsider its unwise decision and go for a gradual increase in the prices of petroleum products to save businesses and people from its dire consequences. He said this while addressing a meeting of ICCI Executive Body.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that the price of petrol has jumped to almost Rs180/litre and diesel to over Rs174/litre taking these prices to the record highest level in country’s history. He said that this unprecedented hike in POL prices would multiply the energy and transport costs and further increase the cost of doing business due to which trade and industrial activities would take big hits. He said that this decision would lead to further hike in the electricity price as the share of fuel oil is over 31 percent in our energy mix.
President ICCI said that the government has already increased policy interest rate by 150 basis points, taking it to 13.75 percent, which has made credit cost unaffordable for the business community. He said the recent hike in the POL prices would make our products more uncompetitive in the international markets and affect our exports. He wondered who would do business and invest in Pakistan in an environment of frequent hikes in the utility tariffs and POL products. He stressed that the government should make drastic cuts in all non-development expenditures, control the losses of state-owned entities, which cause annual losses of billions of rupees. He urged that in these difficult times, the government should avoid taking harsh measures and focus on promoting ease of doing business to steer the economy out of current challenges.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President and Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that petrol price has gone up from Rs106/litre to around Rs180/litre and diesel from Rs110/litre to over Rs174/litre from January 2021 to May 2022, which shows an increase of almost 70 percent and 58 percent respectively in a period of just 17 months.
They said that the repeated hikes in the POL prices and utility tariffs would shatter the confidence of investors who needed consistent prices and tariffs to make long-term investments in Pakistan. They urged that the government should withdraw all taxes and levies on POL products and reconsider the latest hike in these prices to save the businesses and economy from further troubles.
This very harsh decision will unleash a new wave of high inflation, says ICCI President Shakeel Munir