Business Community Criticizes Significant Increase in Petroleum Prices

Business Community Criticizes Significant Increase in Petroleum Prices

Karachi, August 16, 2023: The business community has strongly criticized the decision of the new interim government to substantially raise the prices of petroleum products.

The United Business Group (UBG), which represents the business community, expressed deep concern over the recent significant hike in petroleum prices. Leaders including UBG President Zubair Tufail, Secretary General (Sindh Zone) Hanif Gohar, former Senior Vice President FPCCI Mazhar A. Nasir, former Vice President Tariq Halim, and Central Spokesperson UBG Gulzar Firoz highlighted that the increase in petroleum prices is causing major worries across all business sectors. This has led to a decrease in consumers’ purchasing power, a decline in exports and investments, and even the possibility of industrial unit closures.

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The UBG leaders pointed out that the prices of petrol and diesel have reached an all-time high, surging by Rs 20 per liter. This substantial increase marks another significant spike within just two weeks. In a span of two months, petrol prices have risen by Rs 40 per liter, setting an unprecedented record in Pakistan’s history.

The business community, already struggling with high inflation, now faces the looming threat of business closures due to this exorbitant increase. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and cottage industries are expected to be severely affected. Before this hike, Pakistan’s petroleum, electricity, and gas tariffs were already among the highest in the region. With this latest escalation, the burden is not only on businesses but also on the general public. This added pressure on the masses, who are already grappling with rising utility costs, could lead to negative consequences, including increased corruption and theft.

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The repercussions of this tariff hike are predicted to be catastrophic, affecting a large portion of the population. Many individuals are at risk of falling below the poverty line, leading to a reduction in the middle-class population and potential social unrest. The business community, already facing challenges such as fluctuating exchange rates, power outages, water scarcity, and law and order issues, is now confronted with an even more complex situation.

The business community strongly opposes this tariff increase and urges the government to reconsider this unjustifiable escalation before it triggers negative public reactions. They propose that the government explore alternative solutions to fulfill commitments made to the IMF, without burdening the struggling masses. Instead, they suggest discontinuing the provision of free electricity, gas, and petrol to privileged classes.

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The business community’s plea to the government is to recognize the potential harmful impact of this surge in petrol and electricity tariffs on the economy and the livelihoods of citizens. Addressing this concern would contribute to a more favorable business environment and demonstrate the government’s commitment to the welfare of its people.