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KARACHI: Industrial and business community has strongly opposes gas price surge gas tariff hike threatens industrial sector, increases unemployment.

President of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Johar Qandhari, vehemently rejected the recent surge in gas prices, asserting that this decision poses a severe threat to the industrial sector, potentially leading to increased unemployment. Qandhari expressed concern over the already elevated production costs in the region, rendering industrialists less competitive compared to their counterparts in neighboring countries.

Highlighting the industry’s prior demand for reduction in gas prices from Rs 2100 to Rs 1800 per MMBTU, Qandhari underscored that the recent government decision to raise prices to Rs 2700 to Rs 2900 per MMBTU intensifies the challenges faced by the industrial sector.

President KATI warned that the continued escalation of gas prices could result in the closure of numerous industries, amplifying unemployment rates and diminishing Pakistan’s export capabilities.

Qandhari urgently appealed to the government to reverse this decision promptly and establish a fixed gas price of Rs 1800 per MMBTU for industries.

Emphasizing the need for the government to explore and provide affordable energy alternatives for the industry, Qandhari stressed that such measures are crucial for ensuring the competitiveness of Pakistani products in the global market. As the industrial sector grapples with the ramifications of the gas price hike, Qandhari’s stance advocates for the preservation of industrial stability and the prevention of potential economic setbacks for Pakistan.

President, SITE Association of Industry Muhammad Kamran Arbi has condemned the recent increase in gas tariff as approved by the Economic Coordination Committee and the caretaker govt. He has demanded the caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries & Production Dr. Gohar Ejaz and Minister for Energy Muhammad Ali to take back the decision of hike in gas tariff in the larger interest of national economy and to save the industries from collapse. He warned that in case, the decision is not withdrawn; the industries will close down, resulting in decline in exports and mass unemployment.

In an appeal, Arbi said that the business community was given assurance for 9 cents per KWh electricity tariff by the caretaker government. The assurance brought a sigh of relief and hope for the business community that the new tariff will help in reduction of production cost and they will be able to continue production unabated and deliver export orders on time. However, contrary to the assurance given, POL, electricity and gas tariff are being increased constantly by the caretaker government. He said that currently, the national economy is passing through severe crisis. To run an industry is no more a profitable business. He questioned the Caretaker Prime Minister as to how economy of the country can be stabilized and strengthened in the absence of industrial and business activities? “Unfortunately, the caretaker government has taken no step to provide competitive environment to industries, lower the cost of production and reignite the engine of national economy, which has left the industrial community in despair,” Arbi remarked.

SITE President demanded the caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries & Production Dr. Gohar Ejaz and Minister for Energy Muhammad Ali to review the decision of hike in gas prices and reduce the same taking into consideration the ground realities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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