KARACHI: Trade and industry leaders have said that almost Rs20 per litre increase in high-speed diesel (HSD) and petrol prices would put an additional burden on the industries and general public at a time when they are already hard-pressed with up to Rs7.5 per unit power tariff hike amid unprecedented inflation.
They said the industrial and general consumers will be feeling the pinch of high transportation costs as petrol and diesel prices have swelled to Rs272.95 and Rs273.40 per litre, respectively.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh 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.
The FPCCI chief expressed his concerns that domestic and international demand for Pakistani products would be at an all-time low as inflation has severely affected the purchasing power of the domestic consumers and for international and regional markets, local products have become uncompetitive.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Faraz ur Rahman criticised the massive hike in petroleum prices, which would not only impact industrialists but also exert severe economic pressure on the general public.
He lamented the government for affecting the public’s budget by raising petroleum levies and taxes, following the terms set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Markazi Tanzeem-i-Tajiran President Kashif Chaudhry said they would start a country-wide protest in case the government did not withdraw the hikes in petroleum and power rates.
The country’s oil sales plunged by 6pc year-on-year in July while it remained stable on a month-on-month basis to 1.35m tonnes, Arif Habib Ltd (AHL) said.
Petrol sales in July stood at 0.66m tonnes, up by 2pc over June, while it was higher by 10pc year-on-year.
High-speed diesel sales fell by nine per cent in July to 0.49m tonnes in June, while it showed an 11pc growth on a year-on-year basis.
Published in Dawn, Aug 2nd, 2023
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