The business community rejecting the massive hike in petroleum prices has demanded of the government to withdraw the decision with immediate effect.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, Chairman Businessmen Panel (BMP) Mian Anjum Nisar said, “We strongly reject the massive hike in petroleum prices and widely demand withdrawal of this decision since consecutive increases are adding to the distress of the business community in particular and the public in general.”

He said that the huge hike in POL price will affect every sector whether it is trade or export-oriented industry. It is not good news for Pakistan whenever oil goes up our economy suffers, he added.

Though oil prices in the international market have gone up as compared to recent past but why is the government not bringing down the number and ratio of duties and taxes imposed on petroleum products besides reducing non-development expenditure of the state instead of imposing new taxes on POL prices and the yesterday FBR move is a novel example in this regard, the Chairman BMP deplored.

He said the industrial sector will be the immediate victim of the hike in POL prices as it is one of the major raw materials for industries.

Mian Anjum Nisar said that now Industrial production and movement of raw materials and trading goods will be more costly and reduce the competitiveness of Pakistani goods in the international market and put the government’s initiatives in reverse for boosting exports.

Secretary General (Federal) BMP, Ahmad Jawad said the repeated increase in petroleum products prices in the recent past has badly eroded Pakistan’s competitiveness.

He said that the country's energy import bill has already risen heftily as global oil prices have spiked by almost a third in the last several months, it's likely to increase considerably going forward. Rising oil prices will add to pressure on the country's forex reserves, widen trade gap as we spend more on the energy import bill, push domestic power prices, increase the already high cost of doing business affecting export competitiveness, expand budget deficit, spike inflation and squeeze household incomes, he added.

“A sudden increase in POL prices through rising taxes has come as a big shock for the poor people, industrialist and traders which will have a negative impact on the inflation stricken masses and the fragile economy,” Ahmad Jawad said adding that the government must provide a relief immediately and on permanent basis.”