Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday asked the government to reduce taxes on petroleum products to provide relief to the masses.
He said that the cost of oil is Rs85 to Rs91 per litre and the government is earning up to Rs25 per litre in the shape of taxes which can be reduced as petroleum products are being sold at the highest rate in the history of the country.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that government officials are wrongly comparing local petroleum prices with other countries as they are not mentioning the buying power of the masses of these countries.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that an unexpected hike in the price of petroleum products has become a problem for oil-importing countries as their import bill is swelling.
Pakistan’s oil import bill for July and August stood at 3.1 billion dollars which was 1.5 billion dollars during the same period a year ago.
The consumption of petroleum products is increasing resulting in budget problems while claims that price of petroleum products in the country are cheapest in the region is baseless, he said.
The business leader noted that the government has reduced some taxes to provide relief to the masses but it is still in a position to reduce prices but it may not be acceptable for the IMF.
He said that the devaluation of the rupee has created many problems that include an increase in the power sector and gas circular debts.
The power sector circular debt has jumped to Rs2.7 trillion while gas sector circular debt is at Rs600 to Rs700 billion. Continued escalation in these debts is disappointing local and foreign investors while the share value of the state-run companies is also going down.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that increasing loans and receivables of the power projects are resulting in tensions between the government and investors which can be resolved through immediate deregulation.