BMP slams govt for again increasing POL prices

KARACHI: The Businessmen Panel (BMP) said on Thursday that the government had increased Rs 18 per litre on diesel and Rs 16 on petrol in the last six months which may continue to enhance difficulties of trade and industry and the people of Pakistan.

BMP Chairman Mian Anjum Nisar said the petrol and High Speed Diesel (HSD) are two major products that generate most of revenue for the government because of their massive and yet growing consumption in the country. “HSD sales across the country are now going beyond 800,000 tonnes per month against monthly consumption of around 700,000 tonnes of petrol and in contrast, Pakistan’s economy will most likely be faced with tougher challenges in the second half of the current fiscal year as it remains heavily dependent on imported fuel oil whose prices are steadily on the rise, and in view of this Pakistan’s annual inflation climbed to 4.4 per cent in January from 3.7pc in the same month last year mainly due to hike in petroleum prices.”

Nisar said good days seemed to be over as second half’s (January-June 2018) import bill would be significantly higher than the first half of current fiscal year 2017-18. He said petroleum goods remained heavily taxed to make up a significant chunk of the revenue collected by the government and we will not stand for the economic murder of the country. “Currently government charged heft taxes on POL products from the consumer which is not acceptable”.

He further said: “High oil prices mean that Pakistan’s export competitiveness goes down and our exports already falling, this is something the country can ill afford. It also raises questions about the decision to depreciate the Pakistani rupee which took recently.”

BMP Secretary General (Federal), Ahmad Jawad slammed the recent hike in prices of petroleum products and called on the government to withdraw its decision, instead of increasing it. He said that rising oil prices would add to pressure on the country’s forex reserves and widen trade gap which already plunged to $17 billion in last seven months.

Jawad said: “It is not good news for Pakistan whenever oil goes up our economy tanks, as rising prices will have consequences for the embattled PML-N in an election year. I don’t know how country’s agriculture sector could survived in this high HSD rate despite our agriculture products were already non-competitive in the international market. “I think Ministry of National Food and Security should discuss the officials of Ministry of Energy Division that 50% farmers used tube wells on engine diesels, in that rate how could they irrigate their lands properly.”