‘Hike in oil price unjustified, PM should reverse unparallel increase’

F.P. Report

KARACHI: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain has said that recent hike in POL prices is unjustified and Prime Minister Imran Khan should reverse the substantial hike in the price of petroleum products.

In a statement issued here on Monday, Mian Zahid Hussain said that a sharp increase in prices of petroleum products would hit masses, increase the cost of doing business and damage production as well as exports.

He said that during the last few months, masses have been burdened by trillions of rupees which have also shaken the confidence of the business community.

The masses and the businessmen are not willing to sacrifice more for the inefficiency of different departments, the business leader added.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the hefty increase in the price of oil will result in inflation and unemployment while many local products will become uncompetitive in the international market.

The burden of increasing fuel prices in the international market was immediately put on the masses breaking their back while the benefit is not transferred if the prices recede which was not a good policy, he noted.

The President PBIF said that repeated currency devaluations and an upward revision in fuel prices are contrary to the government’s claim of improving the life of masses and providing a better climate to businesses.

The rupee has already lost 35 percent value against the dollar, people are suffering from high inflation and oil price rise would further squeeze masses and compromise businesses which may lead to unrest, he warned.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that such an exorbitant increase will put industrial expansion plans on hold, trigger unemployment and unhappiness and damage every facet of the economy.

The veteran business leader said that the mechanism to fix energy prices is not transparent and the reasons given to increase are mostly unconvincing.

He said that petrol jumped above Rs100 per litre in 2013-14 when the oil price in international market crossed $100 per barrel, now it is traded at almost $68 per barrel, therefore, the proposed hike is not justified.

It is worth mentioning here that the government recently allowed a massive increase in the prices of petroleum products as the price of petrol was raised by Rs9.42 to Rs108.31 and kerosene price lifted by Rs7.46 per litre to Rs96.77.

The government also increased the sales tax on the motor spirit by 10 percent, high-speed diesel by 4 percent, kerosene oil by 9 percent and light diesel oil by 8 percent which is unjustified.