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KARACHI: SITE Association of Industry on Thursday expressed serious concerns over ‘non-provision’ of gas to export and general industries of SITE area and demanded the government issue immediate instructions for provision of gas to all industries as per requirement to save them from ‘disaster.’

The BMG chairman and patron-in-chief of SITE Association Zubair Motiwala at a press conference said SITE industries are not getting gas as per requirement for the last many months. Industries often face problem of gas pressure which normally remains between 1.0 to 1.5 pound which is equivalent to no gas and industry cannot be run on such low gas pressure.

Zubair Motiwala said government prefers domestic consumers whereas in rest of the world, local and export industries are given priority as they are economic lifeline. In Pakistan, industries are not the top priority of the government.

He questioned that if local and export industries are treated in such manner, how can industrialization be promoted, how employment avenues will be generated and how exports will be increased. It is unjustified to charge industrial consumers at higher rate and provide subsidized gas to residential consumers.

Motiwala demanded the government to give first priority to Karachi industries for provision of gas which contribute more than 54 percent towards total exports of the country and provide employment to largest number of people and are also the highest taxpayers.

BMG vice chairman M Jawed Bilwani, SITE Association president Abdul Rasheed, SVP Saud Mahmood, VP Muhammad Kamran Arbi, and chairman energy sub-committee Saleem Parekh etc were also present on this occasion.

They demanded that electricity tariff should be reduced and rationalized so as to continue industrial production without interruption and to avert cancellation of export orders by meeting export shipment dates.

They added that in this connection, federal government high ups especially Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Advisor Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and MD SSGC were kept informed but there was no development.

They stated that as per the Article 158, Sindh has the 1st right on the gas produced in Sindh province. As such, the requirement of Sindh industries should be met first and then, the gas should be provided to other provinces. The Sindh government should ensure implementation of Article 158 of the constitution as the KP government has successfully done it in their province.

On the matter of high electricity tariff, they said that the cost of production of industries, particularly SMEs have increased substantially and the government should seriously consider reduction in electricity tariff. It is no justice to impose sales tax @ 34 percent on small industries.

On one hand, the government is shutting down captive power plants of industries while on the other hand, the electricity tariff is being increased. The government is neither providing gas for industrial production nor letting us generate our own electricity from gas. In this situation, industrialists are facing challenge to run their industries.

BMG leaders and SITE office bearers have suggested the government to end domestic connection in rural and urban areas and shift to LPG in cities and biogas in other areas which will definitely help overcome energy crisis. In addition, justified policy should be devised for promotion of solar or electricity geyser instead of gas geyser.

Zubair Motiwala and SITE office bearers have also demanded the Sindh government to further allocate funds of at least 3 billion rupees additionally in addition to the approved 1 billion rupees for the improvement of infrastructure and roads construction and repair in SITE area. The progress of work is very slow because of very slow release of funds. Sindh Government is urged to release approved funds and increase total package to at least 4 billion rupees.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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