KCCI Strongly Condemns Astronomical Surge in Petroleum Prices

KCCI Strongly Condemns Astronomical Surge in Petroleum Prices

Karachi, February 1, 2024 – In an unequivocal stance against the recent surge in petroleum prices orchestrated by the caretaker government, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has voiced its resolute rejection.

The KCCI President, Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, lambasted the unprecedented hike in petrol prices, characterizing it as a move that would inflict severe ramifications on all segments of society, exacerbating the hardships faced by the general public and dealing a significant blow to industrial production.

President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh expressed his dismay at the egregious raise of Rs13.55 per liter, denouncing it as highly unfair and unjustifiable. While acknowledging the prevailing surge in international petroleum prices, he argued that the local increase far exceeded what was reasonable, asserting that a raise within the range of Rs5 to Rs9 per liter would have been more palatable. He underscored the adverse effects on the cost of doing business, asserting that such exorbitant spikes would undoubtedly send shockwaves through various sectors of the economy.

In a scathing critique of the government’s fiscal policies, President KCCI pointed out that the stability observed in the value of the dollar failed to rationalize such a sharp escalation in petroleum prices. He contended that if a hike was deemed necessary, it should have been calibrated to minimize the impact on the impoverished masses, who are already grappling with the pervasive inflation of the current era. Furthermore, he criticized the government’s failure to alleviate the burden on the public by not revisiting the maximum permissible limit of Rs60 per liter for petroleum levy.

President KCCI lambasted the caretaker government’s persistent adoption of draconian measures, exemplified by recurrent increases in petrol, gas, and electricity prices, characterizing these decisions as wholly unacceptable. Expressing disappointment over the unchanged key policy rate of 22 percent, he highlighted the business community’s anticipation of a substantial rate cut to signal positive economic prospects.

Emphasizing the need for a more strategic approach to the economic crisis, President Iftikhar Sheikh urged the government to adopt measures that provide relief to both the masses and industries. He argued that instead of relentlessly penalizing the public and industries, the government should focus on curbing unnecessary state expenditures, implementing structural reforms, expanding the tax base, privatizing loss-making institutions, and fostering public-private partnerships.

President KCCI cautioned that the consecutive surge in petroleum, gas, and electricity prices would not only escalate the cost of doing business but also lead to a decline in industrial performance, spike unemployment rates, and exacerbate inflation, particularly affecting the middle and lower segments of society. He urged the government to review the inflationary situation promptly and take corrective actions to alleviate the burden on the common man and the industry, safeguarding the larger interests of the nation.

In conclusion, President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh hoped that the government would recalibrate its approach, steering away from policies that perpetuate the economic woes faced by the nation and instead adopt measures fostering sustainable growth and prosperity.