Trade: (ICCI slams further hike in POL prices)

ISLAMABAD:The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has slammed the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products and called upon the government to withdraw its decision as it increasing the prices of POL products twice in a short span of time would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country.

The IICI said it would put more burden on the common man and badly affect the growth of trade and industrial activities.

Sheikh Amir Waheed, ICCI President, in a statement on Friday said that government was already charging 31 percent GST on high speed diesel and Rs.10 on per liter of petrol as petroleum development surcharge due to which the consumers were paying many times high prices on POL products.

He said though oil prices in the international market have gone up, but stressed that the governm should reduce high taxes and charges on POL products instead of increasing their prices. It was a wise approach save the business community and the general public from further problems.

He said the recent hike in POL prices would further enhance the cost of doing business as manufacturing, movement of raw materials and trading goods will become costly. He said the industrial sector will be the immediate victim of the hike in POL prices as it was one of the major raw materials for industries.

He said the move would also reduce the competitiveness of Pakistani goods in the international market and foil the government`s efforts for revival of exports.

He said the economy of Pakistan was already facing many challenges due to rising trade and current account deficits, falling exports and heavy cost of debt servicing. In this scenario, increasing prices of POL products twice after a short gap would create more difficulties for the economy.

He emphasized that instead of hiking POL prices, government should focus on reducing taxes and duties on POL products and control non-developmental expenditures.