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KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Zubair Motiwala, while totally rejecting SSGC’s ‘imprudent decision’ to suspend gas supply to all non-export general industries, demanded that instead of doing so, the SSGC should carry out ‘gas holiday’ once a week along with better load management which would ensure that the entire Karachi remains operational without any problem.

“When there is no gas available to CNG sector, general industries and even the domestic consumers where exactly was the 940 mmcfd gas disappearing”, he asked, adding that details about the utilization of the allocated 940mmcfd gas which enters into the SSGC’s system must be publicized so that the business and industrial community could review the overall demand-supply situation.

He informed that representatives of industrial town associations who attended a meeting at KCCI on Saturday, also complained about suspension of gas supply to all types of industries in their respective industrial zones which was terribly hampering the overall production activities.

Zubair Motiwala said, “SSGC’s management, which appears to be unaware of what was happening and was unable to control the situation, must go for staggering holidays and better load management in order to provide relief not only to the perturbed business & industrial community but also the poor masses who, despite being the top priority in gas supply, were hardly receiving gas”.

He was of the opinion that the current strategy being pursued by SSGC to shutdown general industries and keep the export-oriented industries operational may trigger hatred and confrontation amongst export and non-export industries.

“It is totally unfair to shut down gas to the general industries which are higher in numbers as compared to export-oriented industries and it was these general industries which supply essential raw materials to export-oriented industries; hence, both being an integral part of the chain must stay operational, otherwise the economy and the exports would suffer badly,” he cautioned.

Terming suspension of gas supply to non-export general industries as detrimental, Chairman BMG said, “KCCI will not stay silent and we will use all available options including a huge sit-in outside SSGC’s Head office until relief is provided to entire Karachi without any discrimination.”

He was of the opinion that gas suspension to general industries would not only result in increased unemployment but would also fuel massive inflation due to shortage of essential goods in the market. “With inflation already at 18% YoY, any supply side disruption would make the situation untenable for the masses as supply side shortages would jack up prices further eroding the purchasing power of the lowest strata”, he added.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh has also fully endorsed the standpoint of industrialists of Karachi Chamber and said that the Sindh Government was fully cognizant of the entire issue and would fully support the business & industrial community’s legitimate demand of uninterrupted supply to Karachi.

“Suspension of gas to industries in Karachi would have serious repercussions due to Karachi’s enormous and most vibrant role in the country’s economy; therefore, the federal government has to take up this matter on top priority and come up with a feasible solution to this grave problem”, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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