ICCI calls for controlling galloping inflation

  • February 04, 2010
Traders and industrialists in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) expressed grave concerns over massive increase in prices of daily commodities and called upon the government to take urgent measures for controlling galloping inflation to save businesses and people from further difficulties.

Zahid Maqbool, President ICCI chairing the meeting said that the sensitive price index (SPI) of the government shows that it has gone up from 173 in Feb 2008 to 254 in January 2010 with certain daily use commodities showing an unprecedented increase of up to 250-300 per cent and putting unbearable burden on low income groups.

He said a cursory analysis of POL prices from February 2008 to February 2010 shows that petrol price has increased by more than 32 percent jumping from Rs53.74 to Rs.71.21 per litre, diesel by about 90 percent from Rs.37.86 to Rs.71.99 per litre and kerosene by 52 percent shooting up from Rs.42 to Rs.64.07per litre.

He feared that with this increase, prices of all the goods produced locally will surge sharply putting extra burden on consumers and further squeezing their purchasing power and this situation will further slow down business and economic activities in the country.

The businessmen said that 46 percent hike in electricity during the last two years, 18 percent hike in gas tariff and massive hike in POL prices will have an overall detrimental impact on the economy.

They said that the utility tariffs in Pakistan were already one of the highest in the region, putting the country at a great disadvantage in exports against its regional competitors while the recent increase in POL and power tariff will further damage country’s business interests.

Zahid Maqbool also strongly criticized the government for taking unilateral decisions on matters which directly affect businessmen and stressed that the government should consult all stakeholders before resorting to such decisions for developing consensus on key issues.

He said that frequent increase in gas, power tariffs, transport fares and oil prices will further accelerate capital flight and discourage local and foreign direct investment and government should reverse this decision to arrest the economy from plunging into deep troubles.