LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has demanded the government shelve its plan of make a hefty increase in the gas tariff.
“Instead of taking such anti-business decisions, it would be better for the government to explore new reserves of natural gas,” LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI president said that any increase in gas tariff would give a big blow to the trade and industry.
“The policymakers should have to keep in mind that gas is the basic raw material for the industry and increase in its prices would add to the cost of the Pakistani products in the international market,” Mumtaz said.
The LCCI president said that Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) is not aware of the ground realities and it is making all decision without due consultation with the stakeholders. He said that due representation of business community will turn OGRA into an efficient body.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that increase in gas tariff would jack-up cost of doing business manifold and oust the export-oriented industries from the international export market where Pakistani products already facing hard competition. He said that such anti-business acts would hamper the growth of manufacturing sector.
He said that the proposed raise in the gas tariff would create multiple problems for the industrialists as they have to bear heavy loss while fulfilling their export commitments.
He said that the government machinery always vow to take the private sector on board but they do not bother to consult LCCI or any other sector-specific association while making the decisions like hike in gas or electricity tariff.
The LCCI President said that the impact of reported increase from August 01 would be much bigger than the expectation of the government who should avoid any such decisions keeping in view the economic scenario in the country.
“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.
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.