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ISLAMABAD: A delegation of Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) met with caretaker Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Ali and his team during his visit to Karachi.

The delegation included leading members of Karachi based steel manufacturers which included Hussain Agha from Agha Steel, Shayan Akberali from Amreli Steels, Faizan Bhagani from Faizan Steel and Advisor on Energy matters Abubakar Ismail.

The delegation briefed the Minister about the challenges of the steel sector with respect to energy/electricity sector. The members of the delegation expressed their concerns over the high cost of inputs, especially electricity, which is placing immense pressure on industries and require urgent attention for a sustainable resolution.

The members updated the Minister for Energy that Karachi based steel industry is suffering due to inordinate delay and non-availability of incremental consumption industrial support package for the consumers of KE, which was notified by Nepra through SRO 659(I)/2022 dated May 27, 2022.

During the meeting, the Minister was apprised that PALSP has been constantly pursuing the matter for more than two years, however, the “Incremental Units Consumption Package” is not yet passed on to Karachi based industrial consumers of KE because of various delays and litigation.

PALSP Karachi members also moved the court for resolution of this issue which can provide a level playing field and fair competition among industries but the support of Power Division is required to resolve the matter amicably.

PALSP also appreciated the Minister’s attention towards efforts to provide relief for all customers across the country, emphasizing that unsustainable power prices will hinder economic activity which in turn generates employment and revenue for the national exchequer. PALSP suggested that the charges levied in bills should be rationalized to not overburden any industry or customer segment over another.

The delegation urged the Minister to immediately resolve the issue between KE and steel manufacturers, currently in court, and release all pending differentials to Karachi Industry. There is a need to immediately release the subsidy amount which is already budgeted and includes about PKR 40 billion for FY22 to FY24.

This will provide a much needed breather to Karachi-based industries in current difficult time. If the issue is not addressed forthwith and the facility is not enforced for KE consumers, the cost will further increase and situation will get worse.

The industry also suggested that all future incremental units’ packages should be proceeded in consultation with stakeholders and there should be no difference for Karachi and rest of Pakistan and all industrial support packages should be implemented at once.

They also suggested that Ministry of Energy (Power Division) should implement Wheeling regime with considerable use of system charges that can promote the CTBCM – Bilateral market.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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