LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has criticised the increase in petroleum products (POL) prices, saying the development will adversely impact the agriculture and industry sectors.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) is turning a blind eye to the economy. “This body is not concerned about the economy, trade and industry,” he said. “It continuously takes decisions against business interests.
“The caretaker government should realise that the economy is already in a poor shape. The price hike without consulting stakeholders is a matter of huge concern.”
He said economic indicators were showing a gloomy picture. “No sector would be left unaffected if government doesn’t withdraw the huge hike in prices. It is a basic raw material and a must to keep the wheel of trade and industry moving,” he said.
Javaid advised the government to cut down non-development expenditures instead of increasing petrol prices. “Industrial sector would not be able to contribute in economic uplift if anti-industry decision is taken,” Javaid said.
Senior vice president Khawaja Khawar Rashid and vice president Zeshan Khalil predicted the cost of private thermal power generation to increase. They said that a huge amount of electricity is being produced through thermal means and hence, the tariff would skyrocket following the hike. “We called on the concerned government circles to take measures for the promotion of alternative fuel,” they added.
On the other hand, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has also set forward the demand to withdraw the decision as it would enhance the cost of production, increase inflation, affect exports and hit economic growth.
ICCI acting President Muhammad Naveed Malik said that the caretaker government has increased the prices at a time when the business community was already facing numerous challenges.
He added that the increase in the price of diesel would further enhance transportation cost that would affect the growth of business activities and give rise to inflation. “Tubewells run on diesel and this increases the cost for farmers who would pass on the impact to consumers,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2018.