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A sharp spike in petroleum prices petrol, diesel and kerosene will be dearer by between six to nine per cent has been approved by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. The move will have a deleterious effect on industrial production and drive up inflation, which has remained high in recent years. While it appears the move is in line with the increase in international oil prices, the oil-pricing mechanism in use in Pakistan passes on disproportionate increases to consumers.

Tomorrow, we held a protest against this serious issue at Main Eidgah Road, Multan with the help of the general public. The National & International Media Representatives gave the coverage to this event as well. People were of the view that the blame for this must lie with the government, which in the summer pledged to deregulate the price of petroleum products.

Approximately four out of every 10 rupees spent on petroleum products are pocketed by the government in the form of indirect taxes. Lacking the political will to collect more direct taxes, the government continues to rely on a highly regressive tax system. Notwithstanding the government`s claims, poor governance has a direct impact on petroleum prices. The people, who are suffering from continuous food inflation, will be more burdened after the hike in petrol prices. There is no transparency in the price decision making, said in a statement here.

We demanded that bad governance and concealment are worse. Price hikes are unacceptable because it has and will make middle-class consumers cut essential expenditure on food, health and education. The government can help alleviate the pain of consumers to scrap the deregulation in petrol pricing.