Traders (ICCI for urgent reduction in power tariffs to promote industrialization)

Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called upon the government to make urgent reduction in the power tariffs to pass on the benefits of economic stabilization and appreciation of rupee against the dollar to promote industrialization, encourage investment, generate employment, increase exports and provide sufficient relief to the hard pressed masses.

Lauding the far-sighted and prudent policies of the government for reviving the economy, Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that the rupee has appreciated from Rs.108 to Rs.100 against the dollar in the open market, which has created sufficient room for the government to make tangible cut in power tariffs for all sorts of consumers.

Appreciating the government decision to reduce POL prices, he urged that it should also reduce power tariffs to ease pressure on industry as well as on the general masses.

He said Pakistan is producing 36 percent electricity from oil and whenever oil price goes up in the international market, government immediately passes on its impact to the businessmen and the general public by enhancing power tariffs.

However, the appreciation of rupee against dollar has brought down the oil price and it is essential that the government should pass on this benefit to the people by making immediate and tangible decrease in power tariffs.

Shaban Khalid said that in August 2013, a historic increase in power tariffs was made for industry and business ranging from 62 to 74 percent.

Moreover, over the last more than five years power tariffs have risen cumulatively by about 90 percent for industry and more than doubled for commercial consumers, which made exorbitant hike in the cost of doing business, caused closure of many industries, created unemployment and affected the competitiveness of our export-oriented industry.

He said government is earning sufficient revenue by incorporating many taxes in power tariff as the levies like fuel price adjustment, GST, electricity duty and withholding income tax etc. range from 50 to 60 percent of the basic tariff making power tariffs almost highest in the region.

He said the tariff costs for industry in China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are 8.5 cents, 11.3 cents, 7.3 cents and 9.2 cents respectively while in Pakistan, it is 14.75 cents per unit. He said government should rationalize taxes in power tariff to make tariff rate affordable for industrial, commercial and domestic consumers.

ICCI President said that the reduction in power tariffs will create multiple benefits for the economy as it will bring down production cost business, encourage industrialization, attract new investment, create more jobs, reduce inflation, improve competitiveness of our products, promote exports up to the potential and enable the economy to achieve fast track growth.

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