POL rate hike: FRIA asks govt to withdraw anti-industry decision

Author: Staff Report

The Ferozepur Road Industrial Association (FRIA) has asked the government to withdraw the anti-industry decisions of continuous raises in oil products prices, warning the authorities that inflation above six percent could hurt the economic growth and only a prudent approach could keep it in under the control.

FRIA senior vice chairman Shahbaz Aslam said that another hike in petrol prices would put an additional burden on the industries and general public at a time when they are already hard-pressed with huge power tariff jump amid unprecedented inflation.

Shahbaz Aslam, also the PIAF senior leader, said that recent massive increase in the petrol, diesel and other petroleum prices has shattered all segments of society including industrialists and traders. He said that government did not bother to pass on the benefit of decrease of oil prices in international market and earned billion rupees, which was a sheer injustice and now made a huge raise in the petroleum prices.

He said that there is almost no production in the industrial sector due to massive load shedding while increase in petroleum and diesel prices would give a big blow, not only to the industry but also to the agriculture sector that is backbone of the economy. He said that the industrialists, traders and common men are already annoyed due to load shedding while further increase in petroleum prices would add fuel to the fire.

He said that government should cut down its luxurious expenditures and curtail taxes and duties on the petroleum prices. He said that the FRIA had for the last many months been calling on the concerned government circles to take measures for the promotion of alternate fuels as trade deficit was fast widening due to heavy imports under the head of petroleum products.

He said that the timeline for the increase in the prices of petroleum products is also raising questions. He said that at a time when the whole industry is suffering due to energy crisis and high cost of doing business, the raise in POL prices is bound to give a further blow to the industry. The FRIA SVC demanded of the Prime Minister to reduce the petroleum prices immediately and also ensure representation of business community in the bodies like OGRA and NEPRA so that business friendly decision could be made. He said had the government been sincere enough with this country it would have started work on some water reservoirs to cater to the future needs of the people but present regime shelved the project of Kalabagh dam with a one stroke of pen.

He said that petrol and HSD are the major revenue spinners with their monthly sales of about 700,000-800,000 tons per month compared to just 10,000 tons of monthly demand for kerosene. He said the industrial and general consumers will be feeling the pinch of high transportation costs as petrol and diesel prices have swelled very high. He strongly condemned the massive hike in petroleum products, saying it would fuel the inflationary pressures and push up the cost of doing business — which is already the highest in the region. He questioned how the existing export orders can be met profitably after the double blow of electricity and petroleum price hikes.

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