KARACHI: The industrialists of Karachi have announced shutdown of all industries on Monday, December 4, demanding that the approved gas rates of 1,350 rupees per MMBTU (Million British Thermal Units) by OGRA be implemented, immediately.
In a press conference held at the SITE Association of Industry, the industrial community vehemently protested the recent surge in gas prices. Furthermore, they announced a formal shutdown of industries as a means of expressing their discontent.
This was the third press conference called on this matter, which was attended by President SAI Muhammad Kamran Arbi, Chief Coordinator Saleem Parekh, Vice Chairman Businessmen Group Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, SVP FPCCI Suleman Chawla, SVP KCCI Altaf A. Ghaffar, President NKATI Faisal Moiz Khan, Ehteshamuddin from KATI, Zain Bashir from Landhi Association, Shaheen Sarwana, President, SITE Superhighway Association, Raza Hussain, President, FB Area Association, and presidents / representatives of value-added textile associations.
SVP Muhammad Hanif Tawakkal, VP Muhammad Farhan Ashrafi, Former Presidents Majyd Aziz, Younus Bashir, Riaz Uddin, Abdul Hadi, Abdul Rasheed and Members Sh Zafar Ahmed, Abdul Kadir Bilwani, Muhammad Hussain Moosani, Saleem Nagaria, Anwer Aziz, Khalid Riaz, Muhammad Riaz Dhedhi, Tarique Rehman, Rizwan Lakhany, Azim Motiwala, and others were also present.
Vice Chairman BMG Jawed Bilwani informed that all the trade bodies from Sindh and Balochistan are extremely perturbed over the exorbitant hike in gas tariff which has made it impossible to keep the wheels of industries running.
“We announce that our protests have become stronger as Lasbela Chamber from Balochistan along with Nooriabad and Kotri Chambers have also joined our protest and assured to fully endorse all the strategies adopted by KCCI to deal with the situation.
Jawed Bilwani said that the business community appeals to the government to bring down gas tariff to Rs.1350 per MMBtu, which has been determined as 100 percent cost of gas by OGRA and include approx. 22pc profit of SSGC, as well.
The industries are ready to pay at the rate of 1350/- but not cost of the subsidies being provided to other sectors.
He said that after holding two press conferences on the same subject at KCCI and NKATI; this was the 3rd one and the business community would continue to raise a stronger voice via media until their legitimate demand to bring down gas tariff is fulfilled by the government.
Bilwani said we have already displayed protest banners at the offices of all trade associations and today we announce closure of all industries on December 4 (Monday) if the legitimate demand providing gas @ 1350/- MMBtu is not met by the government.
Bilwani further said that the new gas tariff has burdened the industries with cross subsidy for undeserving and unfair support to fertiliser, domestic and power sector.
“The industry demands fair gas tariff of Rs1350 per MMBtu but would never accept the unbearable and un-absorbable gas tariffs ranging from Rs2100 to Rs2600 per MMBtu, which have been imposed to please the fertiliser, domestic and power sectors and to terribly penalise the industrial sector of the country that is backbone of the economy,” he added.
He also pointed out that in Pakistan, gas to fertiliser sector is being provided at a much lower rate which was not making any sense as this was a sector which enjoys a profitability of around 20-22 pc and Rs40 billion and it also receives subsidy in gas tariff which was very strange and beyond anyone’s understanding.
President SITE Association of Industry Muhammad Kamran Arbi said that the new gas tariff is simply unbearable for industries.
He said the government should take notice of it and bring it down to 1350/- MMBtu, set by OGRA. He demanded of the government to hold a meeting with the industry stakeholders to reach a consensus on the gas rates.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023