April 1, 2019: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Monday urged the government for withdrawing its decision to increase petroleum prices to facilitate the common man as well as the business community in the country.
They said the government had also increased policy rate by another 50 basis points (bps) to 10.75 percent with effect from April 1 that would make banks credit costly for the private sector and discourage new investment, a press release said.
ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said the price of crude oil had increased less than 2 percent in international market during the month in March, but the government had increased Petroleum Oil Lubricants (POL) prices by more than six percent.
He was of the view that the government was charging 17 percent General Sales Tax (GST) on POL products apart from Rs18 per liter petroleum levy on high speed diesel and Rs14 per liter on petrol due to which the consumers were paying high prices on POL products.
He said the cost of doing business in Pakistan was already quite high and further hike in POL prices would make the survival of businesses difficult leading to further slump in economic activities.
He urged that government for reducing taxes and charges on POL products and withdraw the recent hike in their prices to facilitate general public at a time.
ICCI Senior Vice President Rafat Farid and ICCI Vice President Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, said the recent hike in POL prices would make movement of raw materials and trading goods costly.
They 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.
They said the move would also reduce the competitiveness of Pakistani goods in the international market and foil the government efforts for revival of exports.