ICCI slams unprecedented hike in the prices of POL products

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Islamabad, JUN 3 /DNA/ – Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that the government has made massive hike of Rs.60 per litre in the prices of petroleum products within a week, which is the unprecedented increase and termed it a very harsh decision that would unleash a new wave of high inflation and cause great increase in the cost of doing business. He said the decision would badly squeeze the purchasing power of common man leading to a sharp decline in the growth of business activities.  He said that the government has also hiked electricity price by Rs.8/unit that would give rise to production cost and further push up inflation. He urged that the government should immediately reconsider such unwise decisions to save the businesses and the people from its dire consequences. He said this while addressing a meeting of the business community.

Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that the price of petrol has jumped to almost Rs.210/litre and diesel to over Rs.204/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 badly suffer.

ICCI President said that the SBP has already increased the 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 hikes in POL and electricity prices would make our products more uncompetitive in the international market and affect 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 and reduce the profit margins of OMCs instead of putting an unbearable burden on the masses. He urged that in these difficult times, the government should avoid taking harsh measures and focus on promoting ease of doing business to improve exports and 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 Rs.108.56/litre to around Rs.210/litre and diesel from Rs.110. 76/litre to over Rs204/litre from 1st June 2021 to 3rd June 2022, which shows an increase of almost 93 percent and 84 percent respectively in a period of just one year. 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 reconsider the latest hikes in POL and electricity prices to save the masses, businesses and the economy from further troubles.