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PESHAWAR: Business community have rejected yet another record increase in prices of petroleum products and urged the government to revise its decision forthwith. Traders while talking to this scribe on Sunday said that a relief package was announced by Prime's Minister during address to nation, but at the same time, the government has continuously increased prices of petroleum commodities, which was completely incomprehensible and illogical.

Terming the increasing prices of petrol and diesel as well electricity and gas tariffs as a part of IMF conditions, the business community described the government's policies as an attempt to further push the country's crippling economy in a devastated situation.

Petrol, electricity and gas are lifelines for industries, which are being used as raw material to furnish finishing products, but consistent increase in prices has also enhanced the cost of industrial production that would directly affect the common people in the shape of increased prices of essential items, the traders said.

The business community said the whopping surge in petrol and diesel prices has brought further stagnation in economic growth and devastation to the country's fragile economy.

Hasnain Khurshid who is president Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that the businessmen are being faced with enormous difficulties owing to post-Covid scenario, especially inconsistent government's economic policies, now the frequent increase in petrol prices have further aggravating the situation.

The SCCI chief slammed an increase of Rs8.3 per litre hike in petrol and Rs8.13 per litre diesel was completely unjust and unacceptable, should be revised immediately.

Expressing grave concern over gas load shedding since the beginning of winter, Khurshid asked the government to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to industries and commercial consumers as KP region is surplus in gas production so it has the constitutional right under article 158-A of the constitution to fully exploit its natural resources.

The SCCI president on the occasion made a demand for the announcement of a special relief package for traders' community, which had been miserably affected by Covid-19 restrictions. He warned if the government didn't withdraw the record hike in petroleum products, so the business community would compel in protest, which responsibility would be laid upon government and authorities concerned.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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