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LAHORE: The business community strongly reacted over substantial increase in oil prices and said that this increase is bound to jack up the cost of doing business in the country.

President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the government should review its decision in the larger interest of industrial activity. There is no denying the fact that oil prices were on the rise in the international market but instead of passing on this surge to masses, the government should cut the number of taxes on petroleum products as the fuel is the engine of growth, he said.

If the fuel would be heavily taxed, the entire economy would suffer and the same happened in Pakistan, he said. Only because of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, a large number of industrial units had already shifted their operations to other countries and the recent decision would force more industrialists to shift their industrial units.

He said it is not the industrial sector alone but the agriculture sector would also badly suffer. They said: "Pakistan agriculture sector is an engine of growth. The increase in petroleum prices would increase the input cost of agriculture production as high speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery. Besides, the cost of power generation through thermal would also go up," he maintained.

Mian Nauman Kabir, Chairman Pakistan Traders and Industrial Front (PIAF), termed increase in oil prices as unjustified decision and said it would push the production cost which would result in price hike of the consumer's goods. The one-time 34 percent increase i.e. Rs25.58 per litre in petrol price would leave a negative impact on the economic growth, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020