Terming the recent cut in petroleum prices ‘less than adequate’, traders and industrialists have demanded of the government to transfer the complete benefit to the people as per the reduction in the cost of petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) products in the international market.
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahmed Hassan Moughal maintained that during the past one year, crude oil prices had gone down by 29 per cent but the decrease offered by the government was much less.
Moughal said that the benefit of POL products cut in the international market should be completely transferred to the people so that more business opportunities arise in the country and people are able to manage their day-to-day affairs at ease.
He remarked that during 2019, the government increased the price of petroleum products twice – in June and August.
He said that prices in the international market slumped from $78 per barrel to $55 per barrel, which was equivalent to 29%, but in contrast, the government only offered a nominal decrease, which added to the woes of the people.
Moughal termed the increase in petroleum prices as a means to earn tax revenue and added that it was one of the major reasons for rising in inflation.
He said that the government was getting 17% GST on petroleum production and a levy of Rs14 per litre on petrol and Rs18 per litre on diesel from which it could be assessed how much the people and traders were suffering.
ICCI senior vice-president Rafat Fareed maintained that the prime minister when in opposition, used to criticise the government for an increase in POL prices but after coming to power had adopted the ways of his rivals.
Fareed noted that besides transport, petrol and diesel was also used in industries and agriculture, therefore, by decreasing the price of POL products according to the international market, the cost of business would lessen.
He lamented that the government had greatly increased the price of gas and electricity, which had affected every sector of the economy.