Businessmen Panel Pakistan’s Senior Vice Chairman and Former Provincial Minister Sindh, Mian Zahid Hussain, Presidential candidate of BMP, Former Chief Minister Balochistan Allauddin Marri and Chairman Sindh Zakaria Usman while talking to the Business Community said that the business community has raised voice and showed serious concerns over the notice of SSGC regarding closure of gas to the industries for three months in the winter season. Despite assurance of the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar to various delegations of business community regarding reversal of gas closure decision, the SSGC has again decided to close gas supply to the industrial sector, which is very discouraging.
Leaders of the Businessmen Panel said that over one thousand industrial units of Karachi are not only providing employment to thousands of people but also contribute millions of rupees to the national exchequer in term of taxes and earn huge amount of foreign reserves against exports. Natural gas is the only option available to the captive power industries for their production and operations given to non availability of uninterrupted power supply from the K-Electric and high cost of diesel generators as it costs Rs. 26 per unit higher than that of the natural gas. Cost of doing business becomes unbearable to the industrial sector if they use diesel generators instead of gas. The decision of closure of gas should be immediately reversed, else thousands of people will be left unemployed in addition to million of losses to the national exchequer and foreign reserves. Trade deficit has already reached to $ 15 billion in the first five months of current fiscal year will further worsen.
BMP Leaders said that if the decision of gas closure has not been reverted, the industrial production will see huge reduction which will further increase the already rising inflation in the country in the backdrop of unstable USD and will equally affect trade, industry and the general public. Though government is adopting industrial friendly policies, but hurdles in implementing such policies should be addressed and resolved. On one hand, the export sector has been given incentives for increased exports, but on the other hand gas has been closed to the industrial sector, which is drastic for the country’s industry and against the vision of the current government.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that to cover the demand supply gap of gas, the government should increase import of LNG and as decided in the ECC meeting in November the proposed 150 – 200 MMCFD LNG should be included in the system to avoid load shedding of gas to the industrial sector, so that this important part of the economy can play its role in the economic growth of the Country and the industrial sector may further grow.
Allauddin Marri said that the business community will never accept any measure causing loss to the industrial sector and request the competent authorities to take immediate measures for uninterrupted gas supply to the industrial sector and revert the notice of gas closure being issued to general and captive power industries by the SSGC.
Zakaria Usman said that the criminal silence of the FPCCI on various issues of the business community including closure of gas to the industrial sector is unforgiveable. Gas closure to general and captive power industries will cause unbearable damage to the industrial sector and national economy.