Oct 1 - 7, 20

Uncontrolled hike in POL prices would prove a "cut throat" for industries, besides, making it very hard for exporters to stay in competition in the international trade markets with India, China, Nepal, Taiwan and Thailand.

Leading industrialists, exporters and traders voiced against the POL prices and have strongly criticized government the recent increase in POL prices by the government, maintaining that it would leave bad affects on export oriented sports goods, surgical, leather and musical instruments' industries, besides, bringing some unbearable decline in the exports.

Trade bodies namely Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Pakistan Sports Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PSGMEA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) Sialkot, Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association (SIMA), Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PGLMEA), Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters (PRGMEA), rejected recent increase in POL prices, urging the government to withdraw this decision in the larger interest of country's perturbed business community.

A large number of industrial units had already shifted their operations to other countries and the recent decision would force more industrialists to stop industrial investment in the country. Foreign buyers were diverting their export orders to the other countries and this situation could also prove a set back for the national economy.

They said that this increase in POL prices would definitely raise the cost of production of all the export items, besides, ousting the Sialkot exporters from the competition in international trade markets, as the other countries including India, China, Nepal, Taiwan and Thailand were producing comparatively cheaper such products as compared to Pakistan.

Industrialists, textile exporters, traders, political and civil society members have urged the government to withdraw recent hike in oil prices that is bound to jack up cost of doing business in Pakistan.

According to Chaudhry Salamat Ali, ex-chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (North Zone), at a time when textile industry and citizens are facing severe energy crisis and prevailing situation is yielding negative impact over the national economy, it is imperative that government should withdraw the increase of petroleum prices.

He demanded that the government should cut the number of taxes on petroleum products in the best interest of the country. Repeated increases in the POL prices had ruined the industrial sector and economic activities, he added.

On the other hand, people are facing severe problems due to non-stop price hike in POL products. They said government policies are yielding unemployment in the country, resultantly, crime rate in country growing day by day.

The increase in prices of petroleum products has also drawn severe reaction from people who see it as another factor to cause price hike in coming days. They said that the government was not caring enough for the problems of common man.

They said that the situation had become unbearable for them, as the foreign buyers were cancelling their export orders (worth millions of rupees daily), as the exporters were unable to timely dispatch their export orders due to prolonged suspension of the power.

The main opposition party-Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has rejected the increase in petroleum prices and asked the PPP-led government to not only withdraw the recent increase but also bring down the PoL price.

According to the PML-N senior leader Muhammad Pervez Malik, high PoL prices would not only lead to increase the production cost of the shuffling industry but also ruin the national economy. He that the increase in the petroleum products would cause another surge in the prices of daily-use items and add the worries of masses that are already in deep trouble due to cruel policies of the PPP-led government.

He said that government was charging unjustified levy on the petroleum prices for their lavish expenditures and not ready to pass on any benefit to the masses or the businessmen.

The PML-N leader said that PPP government had no intentions to put the economy back on track. He said that raise in petroleum prices will force the people to take streets and stage protests. He said the manufacturing sector was on the verge of collapse because of irregular utilities prices, high taxes, abrupt and long duration of gas/electricity load shedding. He said, raise in the prices of petroleum products will affect in leveraging inflation further by translating raise in cost of electricity, transportation and utilities.

He said the PPP government was resuscitating public towards a dangerous situation by burdening them with high taxes/ prices of utilities and petroleum products. He said that the export industry was already besieged with the problems of excessive gas electricity load shedding, dangerous law & order situation and increasing raw material prices.

He said that thousands industrial units had been closed down, large number of industrial workers lost the employment and poverty graph was going up rapidly but instead of announcing some relief package, government was busy to further burden the masses.

According to him, the industrial sector of any country plays a fundamental role for economic development but PPP government was taking measure adding its woes. He said that prices of petroleum products would also give a big blow to the agriculture sector as the diesel was being used in the agri-machinery and tube wells etc. He said that cultivation cost would touch the peak while agriculture sector nose-dive. He demanded the government to take elected representatives into confidence before making trade, industry and masses related decisions and all matters should be discussed in the National Assembly.