Gas tariff hike to shut-down many industries: LCCI

KARACHI: President Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Yakoob H Karim has warned the government that any further hike in gas tariff would prove to be a killer of industry and many export-oriented units will be closed down.

He advised the rulers not to increase gas prices and said that PML-N government should avoid making any increase in gas tariff as it would jack-up cost of doing business manifold and oust the export-oriented industries from the international export market.

Yakoob said that such anti-business acts of the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) would not only hamper the growth of already affected manufacturing sector but may result in complete closure of those factories running under capacity. “The industries are already facing a number of internal and external challenges and would lose the export market abroad”, Yakoob said adding that proposed raise would create multiple problems for the industrialists as they have to bear heavy loss while fulfilling their export commitments.

He said that the government functionaries or ministers always vow to take the private sector on board on all future decisions but they do not bother to consult LCCI or any other sector-specific association while jacking up the gas tariff. LCCI president said that the impact of reported increase from April 01 would be much bigger than the expectation of the government, which should avoid any such decision keeping in view the economic scenario in the country.

Yakoob said that increase in the gas tariff will put extra burden on cash-starved industry; therefore, the OGRA authorities should avoid to take such initiatives. “By making such decisions, the OGRA would not be doing any service to the industry but actually they are widening the gap between the private sector and government.”

He said that at a time when all the governments in the world were facilitating their respective private sectors, the situation in Pakistan is the other way round and various government departments were tightening noose around the private sector.

While quoting the example of textile sector, he said that it is one of the most value-added and export-oriented sectors in Pakistan which accounts for more than 60 percent of total exports of the country. Ninety-five percent of its inputs are locally produced and by making energy out of their reach, government is in fact curbing the use of local inputs.” He said that even the slightest raise in the cost of production, at this critical juncture, would, therefore, spell doom and oust Pakistani merchandise from the international export market which would deprive the exchequer of much-needed valuable foreign exchange to the tune of billions of dollars.

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