Businessmen slam 5 to 9% hike in POL products

  • February 01, 2010
Local business community in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry strongly condemned the further hike of 5 to 9% in POL products from February 1, 2010 and urged the government to immediately withdraw this decision as it will create multiple problems for overall economy and badly hit particularly the industrial and agricultural sectors apart from adding untold miseries to the common man.

Zahid Maqbool, President, ICCI lashed at the government for frequently increasing the prices of POL products completely disregarding the interests of business community and the common man who are finding it hard to make both ends meet due to very high cost of living.

He said the unprecedented hike in the POL and electricity prices by about 29 per cent and 46 per cent respectively in last 18 months has dashed all hopes for business revival in the country this hike will almost bring business activities to a grinding halt and will crush the poor people.

He said diesel is a key input for agriculture, industrial and transport sectors and hike in its price will further dampen the commercial viability of these sectors and thus damage the overall socio-economic development of the country. He said small farmers, who are backbone of our agriculture, will be left with no option but to stay away from cultivation and this situation will endanger the food security of the country.

Businessmen said that due to the increase in tariffs of electricity and gas productivity of industries have also been affected and the recent hike will directly effect the industrial sector. Due to rising cost of production in Pakistan, foreign investors are moving to other countries of the region, they said adding that many textile industries have already been shifted to Bangladesh and unemployment rate in the country has reportedly been increased to 15 per cent which should be a matter of great concern.

They said the current state of economy demands that government should create conducive environment for better growth of economic activities. However, such anti-people and anti-business decisions will reduce industrial and commercial activities ultimately decreasing tax revenue for the government making already fragile economy further weakened.

Zahid Maqbool said the frequent increase in gas, power & POL prices will accelerate the capital flight from the country and will discourage local & foreign investment. Therefore, larger national interest demands that government should take back this decision to save economy from further damage.