The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has criticized the government for increasing fuel prices and termed it bad news for the country’s economy, as two weeks after the rate hike, the government on March 1 increased fuel prices once again. Hence, this is fourth consecutive hike in petroleum prices leading to increasing cost of production ultimately. APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said though the prices of oil in global market is going up yet the authorities can keep the rates stable by reducing tax ratio which is highest in the region.
In the past, the government did not pass on the full benefit of declining oil prices to the public by imposing heavy taxes. It is the time to relax the duties and absorb the burden of soaring petroleum prices in international market by keeping the prices stable. In the past government used to cut POL rates after a period of one month when prices were declining in global market but at the time of rising oil prices government is quickly responding and shifting the burden of oil price increase within 15 days.
The price of petrol was increased from Rs71.29 to Rs73, whereas high speed diesel is now costing Rs82 after an increase of Rs1.52 per litre. Ibrahim Qureshi, terming it a bad news for the country’s economy which was already facing a number of challenges, said that the increase would put extra burden on the consumers. He said the rates for kerosene oil and light diesel oil were also increased from Rs43.25 to Rs44, and light diesel oil from Rs43.34 to Rs44 respectively.
He said that APBF had always 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 rise in PoL prices is bound to give a further blow to the industry. However, the APBF president appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for announcing Rs180 billion package for the revival of export-oriented industries, which should be implemented without any further delay along with stability in fuel prices as well as all energy inputs.
The APBF is seriously concerned about the decline in exports and an increase in the trade deficit mainly due to increasing cost of doing business which has impacted export sector viability.