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KARACHI: Abdul Hadi, President SITE Association of Industry (SAI) has termed the government’s decision to discontinue gas supply to general industries from 1st Feb and export-oriented sectors from 1st March as “disastrous” for the industry.

He said that on the one hand, the Prime Minister of Pakistan advocated increasing of exports, cut down in imports and creation of more jobs for the people while on the other hand, anti-industry and anti-exports steps are being taken by the government which is beyond comprehension.

Giving details of increase in power tariff, Abdul Hadi said two months ago, government announced reduction in tariff on excess use of electricity.

Now the government has announced to increase power tariff which will ultimately increase the cost of production.

It is ground reality that our production cost is higher than our competitors. Despite this disadvantage, we are making best efforts to compete in the international markets.

Abdul Hadi quoted Supreme Court verdict according to which, the captive power units generating electricity for self-consumption, fall under the “industrial” category and should be treated as industrial connection, but unfortunately, this is also not being followed.

SAI president said that industrialists are being harassed in the name of gas disconnection of their captive power units. In the past when we were facing energy crisis, the business community came forward and set up gas-based captive power plants worth billions of rupees to produce electricity on self-help basis, he said.

Now, if the government disconnects their gas supplies, their entire investment will become ‘zero’ in reality. In addition, further investment will be required to switch over to alternate energy which will create a situation of financial crunch for the industries, he mentioned.

“The government is well aware that due to Covid-19 issues in other countries like India and Bangladesh, their orders shifted to Pakistan where situation is comparatively better. Pakistani exporters have confirmed these orders which are now in process and to be shipped on time. How export orders can be completed and shipped on time if gas will be disconnected. The government must realize that our exports have already dropped by more than US two billion dollars in the previous years and in case of disruption in industrial production, will drop further”, he remarked.

Abdul Hadi has appealed the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to review the anti-industry and anti-exports decision to discontinue gas supply to the industries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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