LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday urged the government to reset its priorities and restore supply of gas to the industry in Punjab. In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that recent suspension of gas supply was beyond the understanding of the private sector as the step was taken at such a time when the business community was expecting improvement in supply due to change in weather.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that it was also equally deplorable that the SNGPL authorities had never bothered to share gas suspension plan with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and always took abrupt action.
He said that the LCCI was a true representative of the trade and industry and if it was informed before hand, it could intimate all its members to enable them to devise plans to continue their operations.
The LCCI President said that the recent gas suspension is more lethal in economic terms as was going to deprive the country of the benefits of the GSP Plus status in true sense of the word.
“All over the world there exist Standard Operating Procedures particularly when it comes to public-private interaction but it seems that SNGPL authorities do not believe in such successful working models.”
More than 40 percent of the industry in the province runs on gas and any suspension in the supply of gas means closure of about half of the total industry and a drastic cut in government revenues.
The LCCI President said that it was an anti-industry step, which would hit hard the export orders, adding that one day cut in gas supply would leave the industry with no option but to close down its operations.
He urged the government to immediately shelve the ‘Industry Closure Plan’ to avert resultant massive layoffs. “Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the industry is being pushed to the wall.”
Meanwhile, the LCCI President also sought status of new exploration of gas reserves and supply and demand situation saying that the SNGPL must share with the business community the latest gas reserves status as it has been reported that the current gas reserves are depleting and it will become insufficient to meet the national demand in near future. He said that there is a dire need to find out new reserves in the country.
The exploration of oil and gas is considered as a lucrative venture, the companies all over the world are eager to invest in this area, as it promises hefty dividends. What is lacking in Pakistan is a clear roadmap to channelize funds into this sector.”
The LCCI President said that if any incentives are being offered to the private companies, it must be publicized so that private sector could be encouraged to divert its investment to this important sector.