Businessmen have slammed the government’s decision to make a massive hike of Rs30 per litre in prices of petroleum products, which is the highest-ever increase in one go.
They termed it a very harsh decision that would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country and cause a hefty increase in the production cost.
Speaking at a meeting of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (ICCI) executive body, ICCI President Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that the decision would have a multiplier impact on the retail prices of goods, which would make the life of common man more miserable and squeeze his purchasing power, leading to a highly negative impact on the growth of business activities.
The ICCI chief urged the government to immediately reconsider its decision and go for a gradual increase in prices of petroleum products to save the businesses and people from the dire consequences.
The price of petrol has jumped to almost Rs180 per litre and diesel to over Rs174 per litre.
Munir was of the view that the unprecedented hike in petroleum prices would multiply the energy and transport costs and further increase the cost of doing business.
“This decision will lead to a further hike in the electricity price as the share of fuel oil in our energy mix is over 31%.”
The ICCI president also said that the central bank had already increased the policy rate by 150 basis points, taking it to 13.75%, which made the credit cost unaffordable for the business community.
“The recent hike in petroleum prices will make our products more uncompetitive in the international market and affect our exports.”
In these difficult times, he stressed, the government should avoid taking harsh measures and focus on promoting ease of doing business to steer the economy out of the current challenges.
ICCI Senior Vice President Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh and Vice President Muhammad Faheem Khan pointed out that the petrol price had gone up from Rs106 per litre to around Rs180 and diesel price had surged from Rs110 per litre to over Rs174 since January 1, 2021.
It showed an increase of almost 70% and 58% in petrol and diesel prices respectively in a period of just 17 months, they said and urged the government to reconsider the latest hike in fuel prices to save the businesses and economy from further trouble.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2022.
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