The businessmen and transporters on Tuesday condemned the recent hike in petroleum prices and asked the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government to withdraw the decision in the interest of the public, which is already facing hardship.
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zafar Bakhtawari called on the government to review the decision, which he said would have a negative impact on industry and the overall economy.
Bakhtawari said rising petroleum prices would discourage prospective investors from coming to Pakistan and pumping much-needed money into the faltering energy sector.
He said the government had already imposed unprecedented increases in the power tariff, which range from 25 to 60 per cent, on commercial, industrial and bulk consumers. A four per cent hike in petrol and two per cent hike in diesel prices would make Pakistani exports even more uncompetitive in the international market, he added.
Traders Action Committee President Kashif Chaudhry said, “Traders are already worried by the deteriorating law and order situation and our sales will be further hit by the government’s decision.”
Muttahida Transport Union Secretary-General Mustafa Khan was of the view that the price hike had come at a time when the common man was unable to meet his expenses. He added the increased fuel prices would have a domino effect on public transport fares.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2013.