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KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Idrees, while slamming the federal government for totally ignoring Karachi, stated that the largest city of Pakistan continues to suffer badly due to dilapidated infrastructure, unavailability of gas, electricity, water and other important civic facilities whereas, the hardships for Karachiites have intensified further due to rising lawlessness all over the city.

He said that it was a matter of grave concerns that street crimes were widely being reported from every nook & corner of the city but the Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed has never bothered to visit Karachi and was only available to TV channels where he can be seen making tall claims.

He said that due to step-motherly treatment by the federal government, Karachi city’s infrastructure has sharply deteriorated to such an extent that many of the roads particularly those in the industrial zones were not even jeepable.

“This city, despite contributing more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer, 95 percent to provincial kitty and 54 percent in terms of exports, remains deprived of basic facilities while all 14 MNAs of PTI Government who had been elected from Karachi were also not paying any attention to the issues being suffered by the inhabitants of this city,” he said, adding that it was recently reported that Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) Karachi surpassed tax-collection milestone of Rs1 trillion in just eight months of the current fiscal year but this city was not even receiving 10 percent of what it has been constantly contributing since so many years.

He said that despite contributing excellently in terms of revenue and exports, the industries of Karachi remain deprived of gas as out of the total demand of 1100 mmcfd, only 800 mmcfd gas was being provided to Karachi which was highly unfair particularly in a situation in which no gas load shedding was being carried out in any other city of the country except Karachi.

“A summary was moved by the Ministry of Commerce wherein it was mentioned that RLNG will be supplied to industries of zero-rated sector at the rate of US$6.5 whereas the industrial power consumers will be provided RLNG at US$9 across Pakistan but unfortunately, this was implemented within the SNGPL’s territories and no relief was provided to SSGC”, he said, adding that these subsidized rates for RLNG were being provided from the revenue and it was a matter of grave concern that the biggest revenue contributor, ie, Karachi, remains deprived. He said that Governor Sindh along with MD SSGC, during a meeting held to discuss gas crises, assured that the gas issue which persisted since November 2021 will be resolved by 15th February 2022 and the industries will get gas at normal pressure but to date, the industries were not receiving gas at normal pressure which was really worrisome.

He said that realizing the gravity of the situation, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce has been constantly writing letters to all the federal ministers from time to time so that they could be invited to KCCI for discussing the issues of Karachi and devising a workable plan of action on war-footing basis but unfortunately, none of these federal ministers have time for Karachi which has been left alone like an orphan.

He said that the water allocation under K-IV, which has been reduced from 650MGD, to 260 MGD would not help in resolving the water crises being faced by Karachi therefore, the government must restore 650MGD water supply to Karachi under K-IV which must be completed within the deadline ending on October 2023.

“We are totally disappointed to see the approach of the federal government which was mainly responsible for most of the issues of Karachi hence, we would like to appeal Prime Minister Imran Khan to pay special attention to Karachi and issue directives to all the federal ministers to take interest in resolving the problems of this city on top priority as its already too late and further delay would not only prove detrimental for Karachi but for the entire country because of Karachi’s massive contribution to the economic development of Pakistan,” he added.

President KCCI demanded that a ‘Special Package’ must be granted to Karachi so that its infrastructure problem and other issues could be resolved whereas a special technology park in Karachi, which was widely being demanded due to ongoing boom in the IT sector, must also be announced by the federal government on top priority. “All other stakeholders and political parties who have mandate in Karachi must also request the Prime Minister to pay attention to Karachi’s issues which is in the larger interest of the country”, he added.

While referring to a meeting held in Islamabad on September 30, 2021 with Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, PM’s Advisor on Commerce Razak Dawood and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, President KCCI said, “At that point in time, we requested to hand over the textile city land at Port Qasim spread on an area of 1250 acres to Karachi Chamber but instead of doing so this land has been given to Ministry of Maritime Affairs and we are fearing it is going to sold at exorbitant rates to irrelevant people. Hence, keeping in view the vision of the Prime Minister who firmly believes that it is not the government’s job to sell land or do business, we would like to once again appeal the government to hand over the Textile City’s land to Karachi Chamber so we could carry out the infrastructure development and ensure that the land is being sold to legitimate industrialists. We will develop the infrastructure of this land on our own and also provide all utility services to the industries being established in this area.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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