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Prices of POL products, power: hike to add to people's financial woes

Sharp increase in the prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff for domestic consumers will increase in the prices of consumer goods and increase hardship of people in middle, lower and salaried class. It looks like that the present government is least bothered about manifold problems being faced by the poor masses, general pubic, industrialists and traders on multiple facets. The government has given yet another rickety jerk and jolt to them by inflicting a disturbing rise in the prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff for general public.

The increase in POL price and electricity tariff have come as a big shock for poor people, industrialists and traders which will have hefty negative impact on the inflation stricken masses and the fragile economy. The increase in diesel will also bring financial miseries to the agricultural community. The country is facing irrigation water shortage and it is supplemented by tube wells, which are mainly operated by diesel.

These increasing prices of oil and power tariff have put a very bad impact on the economy of the country. Unstable prices of petroleum products, power and gas have a direct impact on almost every other commodity, because the traders and businesspersons have to adjust their ratio of their profits thus causing a direct impact on the manufacturing costs and logistics that transport them to the consumer.

The already economically down-trodden community is suffering heavily due to these flickering petrol prices and other similar commodities because of low income ratios and increasing minimal living costs. Because a big chunk of Pakistani population moves within the city and between cities for their livelihood, the high prices of petrol directly puts a negative impact on their pockets.

Industrialists, traders and general pubic alike have said that the government giving slow poison to industries, trade and general pubic and days are not far away that public may be on roads and industries may be closed down. They termed the unfair increase in petroleum prices as "extortion" to the general public which is meant to ruin the economy. This huge increase will further add fuel to the fire and people will be forced to disobey the government. This increase may increase use of Kunda and elasticity theft many fold, they expressed fear.

They said that the enormous increase in the prices of petroleum products and power tariff would greatly enlarge inflation and have a knock-on effect on the cost of all economic activity. They also feared huge reaction of general pubic owing negating impact on purchasing power. Middle and lower income group segment of the society already facing hardship to pay school and college fees of kids, meet their day to day expenses, feed them properly and now this increase will fore them to eat one time a day. Their may be a wave of strikes and demos to increase pay, they feared.

They said the economy is not in a position to absorb the negative impact of sharp increase in petroleum prices, which will also aggravate prevailing political unrest beside increase in law-and-order problem. This increase in petroleum prices would push up inflation further resulting into higher cost of production hampering the competitiveness of exportable goods besides increasing the poverty which may deteriorate the level of employment.

Leader of business community, former President FPCCI and Parton-in-Chief KATI, S.M.Muneer expressed serious concern on the increase in the prices of petroleum products and electricity. He termed the increase in petroleum and electricity prices as an anti trade, anti industry and anti people decision He said Government dropped petrol and electricity bombs on the industry and poor nation, petrol goes up by Rs 4.12 and Electricity by Rs 5.89 per unit for the consumers using more the 200 unit.

He said that export orders are booked seasonally, normally six months in advance. The industry has to bear the brunt of such unforeseen costs as their impact could not be transferred to buyers because of sudden hike in gas, power and petroleum tariffs. S.M.Muneer said the gas, electricity and petroleum prices rise will add to the misery of the people already overburdened by escalating price hike consumer and other items who are already panting under dearth of essential commodities, high unemployment, unprecedented price hike, virtually no healthcare, fragile education system and law and order. He stated that more shocking is the fact that increases in petrol prices is made without prior notice.

President, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, Mian Zahid Hussain said entire industrial sector was already facing multiple internal and external challenges and the recent increase would further aggravate the economic situation. Newly Elected President KATI, Syed Farukh Mazhar urged the government to review its decision in the large interests of the country in general and for the sake of industry and economy in particular He said not only the transportation cost of goods would multiply but fares of public transport will also increase which will cause great problem to poor commuters.

The increase in petroleum prices and power tariff amounted to taxing the people and imposing a mini-budget on them and destroying the sanctity of the national budget. They expressed fear that ever increasing power and gas tariff and oil prices act as incentive for smuggles. "The increase in the prices of petroleum products after every short intervals together with the increase in electricity tariff for domestic consumers may cause the sharp increase in the prices of consumer items thus leaving negative impact on the livelihood of common man, who are already hit by the inflationary trend due to recent increase in electricity tariff for commercial and industrial consumers." This was stated by the President, Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ismail Suttar.

The Chamber's Chief further added that every time the increase in the prices of Petroleum products has directly hit the common people who are already suffering due to uncontrolled inflation, lawlessness and unemployment. This state of affairs is not a good sign for the commercial and industrial growth of the country.

Ismail Suttar suggested that the Government should take alternative measures in consultation with business community to fight the economic turmoil and to provide some relief to poverty hit common people. Another businessman Abdul Sattar expressed his concern over the economic condition and future planning of the government. He said that beside ever increasing power, gas tariff and oil prices, the situation of rupee losing its value pitiable due to serious critical situation of the country and it the situation will be the same, no wonder the worst ever can happened.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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Banking Review 2014

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