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KARACHI: Hundreds of demonstrators including the leadership of Businessmen Group and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) along with Presidents/ representatives of all Industrial Town Associations and sector-specific trade associations on Wednesday gathered outside the Head Office of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) where they demanded immediate restoration of gas supply to all the industrial zones; otherwise their protest would continue and may intensify further with each passing day until the gas supply to all the industrial units is fully restored and normalized.

Accompanied by prominent business figures, Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, Vice Chairman BMG Jawed Bilwani and President KCCI Muhammad Idrees expressed deep concerns over government’s ‘inattentive’ attitude towards resolving the most pressing issue being faced by the business and industrial community of Karachi where the industrialists are suffering huge losses due to no gas or its low pressure.

They said that industrialists of Karachi were stunned and disappointed to see government’s sheer negligence in response to press releases, appeals and also a recent press conference over huge gas/ RLNG crises being suffered for last more than 100 days.

They said that losses of up to Rs45 billion were being suffered each day due to unavailability of gas in Karachi, which despite facing so many challenges at almost all the fronts, continues to contribute more than 68 percent revenue to the national exchequer, 54 percent to national exports while 52 percent of textile exports also take place from Karachi.

While referring to erroneous allocation of 211 mmcfd gas from Sindh’s resources to SNGPL, BMG and KCCI leadership demanded that in order to revive the industrial activities in Karachi, Sindh’s gas has to be returned to the province as it was highly unfair to keep the industries of Karachi deprived of Sindh’s own gas resources.

They said that the rising demand for gas in Balochistan during the winter season was being fulfilled by SSGCL alone which receives 125mmcfd gas from Sui whereas SNGPL, which takes away 180mmcfd from Sui, is completely spared from sharing the burden of rising gas demand in Balochistan. They stressed that the rising demand for gas in Balochistan has to be meted out by SSGCL and SNGPL as per ratio of gas being received by them, which means that the extra demand of 160mmcfd in Balochistan during the winter should be rationally divided: 41 percent (65mmcfd) burden on SSGCL and the remaining 59 percent (95mmcfd) burden must be borne by SNGPL.

They were of the opinion that gas has to be supplied without any discrimination to all the industries including General, SMEs and export-oriented industries as they all go hand-in-hand. The government has to realize that the general industries were an integral part of the value-chain for exports which drive the economy.

In the national interest, BMG and KCCI leadership appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to take immediate cognizance of the situation and urgently respond to the constitutional right of the business community of Karachi to save the investment of industrialists and protect the soft and positive image of Pakistan globally. They warned that if such alarming situation prevailed the country may face unrest and uncertainty due to closure of industries in Karachi, massive layoffs and drastic decline in the national exchequer, further leading to chaos.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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