LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) fears dire economic consequences if the government increases the prices of petroleum products that are already high and pinching the trade & industry.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that increase in petroleum prices at this critical stage when caretaker setup is going to hold the system, would add fuel to the fire and would give a big blow to the trade, industry and ultimately to the economy.
He said that economic indicators are not in the favour of economy. No sector would be left unaffected if the government goes against the ground realities and increases POL prices that is one of the basic raw materials for the industry and a must for trade and economic activities.
“Government should cut down non-development expenditures instead of dropping petrol bomb on the trade and industry which is already struggling for survival. Industry would not be able to contribute to economic uplift of the country if anti-industry decision is taken”, Malik Tahir Javaid said and further added that said that though oil prices in the international market are on the rise but instead of passing this surge to the trade, industry and masses, government should cut the number of taxes and duties levied on petroleum products.
The LCCI President said not only the industrial but the agriculture sector would also badly suffer. He said that Pakistan’s agriculture sector is an engine of growth.
The increase in petroleum prices would increase the input cost of agriculture production as high-speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery.
Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that the cost of thermal generation by the private sector would increase.
They said the government is producing a huge amount of electricity through thermal means and after an increase in petroleum prices, prices of electricity would touch new highs.
They shared LCCI had for the last many years been calling on the concerned government circles to take measures for the promotion of alternative fuels as trade deficit was fast widening due to heavy imports under the head of petroleum products.
The LCCI office-bearers demanded of the government to move wisely and turn down any suggestion of an increase in POL prices as who is doing it, they have no know-how of the challenges being faced by the trade, industry and economy.