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Businessmen slam hike in petroleum prices as it will hurt business activities

Islamabad, August 01, 2013 (PPI-OT): The business community of the federal capital has strongly resented another hike in petroleum products as it would trigger inflationary impact and would ultimately affect the overall business environment.

Speaking in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they said the decision to increase oil prices, particularly at a time when the economy was struggling for revival, was not in favor of business growth and called upon the government to revise it to save businessmen and the general public from further troubles.

Chairing the meeting, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that increasing power trarrifs by Rs.3 to Rs.6 per unit for different categories, petrol price by Rs.2.73 per litre and diesel by Rs.3 per litre would unleash a new wave of inflation and raise cost of doing business in the country.

He said instead of increasing petroleum prices, government should decrease petroleum levy to save economy from harmful consequences of high petroleum prices. He said specially the raise in diesel price would cause the increase in prices of all the goods as most of the transportation of all kinds of goods takes place on the diesel-run vehicles across the country.

He said the share of furnace oil in Pakistan’s energy mix is around 50 percent and hike in petroleum products would significantly push up production cost making our exportable products uncompetitive in international market.

He said government should make all-out efforts to accelerate oil exploration in potential areas of the country for achieving self-reliance as currently the country is producing just 15 percent of the total oil consumption and a huge amount is spent on oil import due to which our import bill has already surpassed US$ 15 billion.

One good option of reducing oil import is to convert all power plants to coal and gas and other cheap sources and promote rail transport system, which is more economical and energy efficient. He said petrol-based transport system is consuming almost 55 percent of the total imported oil products and promotion of railways can contribute positively in reducing oil consumption of the country.

Zafar Bakhtawari said countries like Japan, France, UK, Germany etc. have developed world class rail transport systems due to which people prefer to travel on railways instead of their own vehicles and Pakistan should make a policy to promote railways transport to reduce oil import. All schools and colleges should have their own buses instead of single car for single student.

He said government should also explore the vast potential of various indigenous energy resources, much of which still remain unexploited, especially that of coal and hydro. He stressed the government must diversify the country’s energy supply mix to produce cheap energy, which will help in bringing down the cost of doing business, better growth of business activities, attracting more investment and employment creation.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526 and 225 3145
Fax: +9251 225 2950
Email: icci@brain.net.pk
Website: www.icci.com.pk

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