The price of crude oil in international market has tumbled down significantly and is hovering around $ 40 per barrel. But despite about 70 percent decrease in oil prices, government has not passed on this benefit to general public while profit margin of oil marketing companies (OMCs) and dealers has been increased ignoring people which is regrettable. This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. The government on Friday increased the profit margin of OMCs and dealers when it approved profit margin for OMCs and dealers on per litre petrol and kerosene 4 percent and 5 percent respectively.
ICCI President said the government is earning an additional amount of Rs.15 billion per month by not passing on the benefit of reduced crude oil prices in the international market to voiceless consumers and stressed upon the need of immediately passing on this benefit to the people who are feeling immensely squeezed due to record high inflation and rising electricity & gas prices. He said reduction in oil prices will create more beneficial results for the national economy and for all stake holders as it will pave way for better growth of business activities by lowering the cost of doing business which will ultimately lead to creation of more job opportunities and enhanced taxes for the government.
Mian Shaukat Masud said government should not find it an easy solution to continue with higher prices of petroleum products as a recovery strategy and instead, it should immediately pass on the benefit of lower oil prices to people. He said improving purchasing power of people will have healing effects on the economy because shrinkage in people spending also reflects badly on the growth of economic activities putting negative impact on trade and industry. He said FBR recorded a tax shortfall of Rs.36 billion in December 2008 as according to provisional figures it had collected Rs.114 billion against the target of Rs.150 billion. He opined that better option to enhance tax revenue is to create conducive environment for the promotion of trade and industry by bringing down production cost and added that reduction in oil prices will facilitate better growth of business activities in the country apart from providing sufficient relief to the general public.