LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tuesday urged the government to immediately stop discrimination in gas supply to Punjab industry as four month suspension of gas would prove last nail in the coffin and would be putting the jobs of millions people and exports of billion dollars at stake.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that gas closure for Punjab Industry is a well-calculated and well thought-out conspiracy against the present regime.
“The rise in number of unemployed would definitely give air to anti-government sentiments and this single step would throw millions of industrial workers out of jobs.”
LCCI President said that it is not the industry only that would be suffering massively but the government would also be an ultimate loser on many counts.
“Government would have to reset its priorities regarding provision of gas and stop discrimination immediately otherwise situation would go out of hands”.
He urged the government to immediately shelve the proposed “Industry Closure Plan” to avert industrial closures and resultant massive lay off.
“How can the industry afford to pay the all-time high mark up when there is no gas for the industry.”
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that there is a global phenomenon that industry is given top priority whereas in Pakistan it comes to the least and other sectors are given priority.
He also urged the government to get replaced obsolete gas geysers and heaters with latest solar geysers and heaters to ensure gas to the industry.
LCCI President said that around 40 per cent of the industrial units in Punjab run on gas and gas suspension means no production by almost half of the industry and a loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer.
The ‘discriminatory attitude’ of the government was not only denting its goodwill and reputation but had also put a question mark on its ability to manage and govern things. He said that the units in Sindh were getting an almost uninterrupted supply except a two- to-three hour load shedding, he added.
Pointing out that the gas suspension plan a death knell for export-based industry and productivity, the LCCI president sought the Prime Minister’s intervention and help for a regular supply of gas to the industry in Punjab.
He said that how the industry would be able to manage export orders worth millions of dollars when there is no gas? What about the thousands of daily wagers who have only one source of income? And above all, he added, how the government would convince both the local and foreign investors for investment when it is unable to manage the supply of gas to existing industrial units.
He said that the decision has sent a very negative signal to the foreign buyers. “Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the industry is being pushed to the wall. The gas suspension for four days a week is tantamount to throttling the industry to death.”
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the shortage of gas is not the only issue but its improper distribution also remains a cause of worry. He said that despite competitive quality and price, Pakistan exporters were unable to make delivery on time.
He said that the businessmen were unable to understand that why the business community was not taken into confidence over industry-related issues and if the SNGPL was facing some supply related issues it must bring them to the notice of real stakeholders well ahead of time.
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