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LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed deep concern over another increase in power tariff and demanded of the government to withdraw the decision which is bound to give a big blow to the trade and industry.

In a statement, LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhary and Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt said National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has jacked up the power tariff by Rs4.12 per unit on account of Fuel Charges Adjustment (FCA) for the month of November 2023 and issued a notification in this regard which would soar the electricity bills.

They said that unannounced load shedding is also adding fuel to the fire and hitting the manufacturing sector hard.

They said that repeated hike in power tariff is hitting exports and local businesses alike. They said that above all, the dollar rupee parity is still beyond the capacity of manufacturers.

LCCI office-bearers said that the government has increased the electricity price many times which is a sheer injustice. They said that the majority of people have been sent bills many times more than their monthly income.

They demanded that the facility of free electricity for all segments should be withdrawn immediately till the time the country is facing economic challenges and enormous debt burden as currently we cannot afford to provide such facilities.

They said that electricity is the main raw material of industries, if such anti-industry measures are not avoided, the manufacturing sector will be completely destroyed and the country will remain only a trading place. They said that despite the increase in electricity prices by several hundred percent, the circular debt could not be controlled, while the energy crisis has also become worst, due to which the industrial production will come to lowest level.

The LCCI office-bearers said that the cost of electricity in Pakistan is already very high compared to other countries in the region and Pakistani products will be completely out of competition in the international market.

They said that the country has already lost much of the global market to China, Bangladesh and India due to high production costs. They said that more burden is being put on those customers who are paying their dues regularly and whose line losses are least.

The LCCI President said that the trend of theft will increase due to the increase in electricity prices. The business community is unable to understand why instead of controlling line losses and increasing generation of cheap power, their problems are being compounded. They said that the growth rate of the manufacturing sector should be eye-catching for the policy makers but they are stagnant to correct the situation. They urged the government to take immediate notice of the situation and announce an immediate reduction in electricity prices.

LCCI President further said that the dollar price should be brought under Rs200 to ensure relief for the business community. He said that high dollar rate is one of the major causes of high cost of doing business therefore its flight must be arrested.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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