ISLAMABAD – Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) rejected the increase in POL prices up to Rs.4.85 per litre and CNG Rs.3.21 per kg and also strongly criticized the decision of revising the prices of petroleum products on weekly basis.

Yassar Sakhi Butt, President ICCI expressed his apprehension over massive hike in POL prices and said that Government has again failed to honour its promise as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources had announced to keep POL prices unchanged for the next 15 days.

He said that the implantation of the decision of revising the prices of petroleum products on weekly basis would create multiple problems for the trade and industry as business community would not be able to calculate return on investment when the cost of doing business would be fluctuating on weekly basis.

ICCI President said that a comparison between the international oil prices and local prices is enough to make the point that the local prices have registered massive increase in the last two years in comparison with the global rates. Therefore, the Government has no justification to make any increase in POL prices, he added.

Yassar Sakhi Butt said that the entire industrial sector was already facing multiple internal and external challenges and this current increase in POL prices would further aggravate the economic situation.

He said that Pakistan is an agrarian country, therefore hike in petroleum prices would increase the input cost of agriculture production as high speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery.

ICCI President said that the transportation cost of goods would multiply as well as fares of public transport would also increase manifold due to increase in POL and CNG prices. He stressed upon the Government to reduce POL and CNG rates immediately to facilitate trade and industry as well as general masses.

APP add: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Thursday urged the government to withdraw recent hike in oil prices that is bound to jack up cost of doing business in Pakistan. In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that there was no denying the fact that oil prices were on the rise in the international market but instead of passing on this surge to masses, the government should cut the number of taxes on petroleum products as the fuel is the engine of growth.

“If the fuel would be heavily taxed the entire economy would suffer and the same happened in Pakistan as the repeated increases 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.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that it is not the industrial sector alone buit thye agriculture sector would also badly suffer.

“Pakistan agriculture sector is engine of growth. The increase in petroleum prices would increase the input cost of agriculture production as high speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery. He said that the cost of thermal generation by private sector to go up.

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.”

While, Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has criticized the government for making massive increase in petroleum prices in one-go and termed it a very bad news for the country’s economy which was already facing a number of challenges.

In a statement, the PIAF Chairman Sohail Lashari, while strongly reacting on this anti-industry and anti-masses decision, said that government did not bother to pass on the benefit of decrease of oil prices in international market and earned billion rupees, which was a sheer injustice and now made a huge raise in the petroleum prices.

He said that PIAF had for the last many months 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 said that the timeline for the increase in the prices of petroleum products was also raising questions. He said that 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 further blow to the industry.

He demanded of the government remove the carbon tax right now otherwise industry would be collapsed within no time.