President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said that the recent gas tariff increase will cause stoppage to the industries already experiencing decline. To get Pakistan out of the current economic crisis, it is vital to promote trade and industry of the Country. But increasing cost of utilities will cause increase in cost of doing business and will discourage the industrial growth.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that the gas tariff is increased by 40 percent for commercial consumers while the minimum bill in the category is increased by Rs. 600 per month. For domestic consumers including mosques, religious institutions and hostels the minimum bill is increased by Rs. 14 while the overall tariff is increased by 10 percent from slab 1 – 5 and by 143 percent from consumers falling in slab 5 & 6, who are approximately 2 percent of total consumers. Slabs for domestic consumers have been increased to 7 from 3. The gas rate for fertilizer sector is increased by 40 and 50 percents for fuel stock and feed stock respectively. Tariff for energy sector has risen by 57 percent, general industries by 30 percent, CNG by 30 percent and cement sector by 30 percent. The gas price for CNG sectors in KPK and Sindh is increased by 40 percent.
The former minister said that to promote the industrial sector and business activities in the Country it is important to review and withdraw the recent decision of gas tariff increase. If rate of raw materials and utilities being provided to the industry has not been reduced the burden of price rise will ultimately shifted to end user and the poverty level of goods and services will further increase thus the purchasing power of public will be highly affected. If the burden is not lifted from the industrial sector, the industry will not be able to prosper and grow.
Mian Zahid Hussain has appreciated that the gas price has not been increased for the export oriented industries including textile, carpet, leather, sports and surgical goods and said that tariff increase for other industries is dangerous given to current industrial and economical situation in the Country. Economically the Country cannot bear the industrial decline and if the due incentives and facilities for the industrial sector have been ignored by the Government the situation may turn into vast industrial decline and economic passivity. Government is required to encourage the new investment in the Country by promoting the current industrial sector through cheap and easy availability of raw material and utilities.