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KARACHI: The Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Tuesday unveiled its protests drive with frequent halts to exports from the first week of December 2023, saying that the higher gas price has brought the industry to a closure

“The industry is in crisis from the costlier gas,” President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh told a joint press conference, which was attended by the representatives of several trade bodies of the city at the KCCI.

He demanded of the government to hold a meeting with the industry stakeholders to reach a consensus on the gas price since the existing tariff has outgrown the manufacturing costs.

He also sought the news media help to highlight the industry problems in a bid to stir up the government to make the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to revisit its price formula.

“Ogra has determined Rs1350 per mmbtu for the industry whereas the ECC made it to Rs2500 per mmbtu,” Iftikhar said and showed worries over the closures of big and small manufacturing units in Karachi from the unbearable gas price.

“We want exports should continue,” he said that “the SMEs are closing down whereas the big industries are following up”. He said that the industry players have left no stone unturned to seek a help from the government in this regard, but all their efforts went futile.

The country’s economy will see a hit from the halting exports, he warned and said that the industry is unable to fetch higher prices for thier products on the world markets because of the costlier gas.

“We want the country’s 54 perfect textile export should further grow,” the President KCCI said but expressed sorry over the government’s non-response to the industry’s calls for a relief in its series of media advertisements. “We cannot see any relief in sight,” he added.

“The government has decided to burden the industry,” Muhammad Javed Bilwani, Patron-in-Chief, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) said and questioned the ECC price formula imposing the circular debt on the export sectors.

The country’s fertilizer sector, he said, feeds on the export sectors’ higher taxes. He felt helpless when describing the industry’s services to the country with no support from the government, saying that “the industry provides jobs, pays taxes, generates revenues, earns foreign exchange and saves foreign exchange too.”

He dismissed the perception that the government has ever provided subsidies to the textile sector, saying that the incumbent prime minister and the concerned federal minister have not even paid a visit to the industry despite its several appeals.

Bilwani also asked the government to step up to stop the fertilizer smuggling, saying that “gas is a key input in fertilizer”. He said that the ECC has never made an effort to help stop line losses but gave a sudden and huge raise to the gas prices.

He also warned the government of a capital flight if the business and industry environment did not streamline. “No investments are taking place,” in the country, he added.

The city even has the costlier water for residential users, he said and added that “Karachi that pays taxes more than the entire country pays, which is up to 67 percent, suffers the most”. The gas price set by the Ogra is plausible for the industry, he said.

To a question, he said that the city’s all export associations have decided to carry out the protest drive in turns with holding a no export day from the first week

of December to signal

the industry’s problems

way far.

“In the protest drive, the industry will first shut down exports for one day in a week then two days and subsequently three days” he said and added that the industry has exhausted its efforts to see the government change its move on a steep price surge.

The press conference was also attended by the representatives of Site Association of Industry, Korangi Association of Trade & Industry, North Karachi Association of Trade & Industry, Federal B. Area Association of Trade & Industry, Landhi Association of Trade & Industry, Bin Qasim Association of Trade & Industry, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Pakistan Knitwear & Sweaters Exporters Association, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Cloth Merchants Association, Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparel Manufacturers & Exporters Association, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association and Pakistan Denim Manufacturers & Exporters Association.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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