The Leadership of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), while highly appreciating the government’s decision to provide subsidized electricity at Rs19.99 per unit to five zero-rated export-oriented industries, said that the business & industrial community was very grateful to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar and Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan for considering exporters’ request to continue Regionally Competitive Energy Tariff (RCET) which would be a great help in enhancing the exports particularly in a situation when recession has already begun in the European Union while the United States was also heading towards the same which are the two major markets for Pakistan’s textile exports.
In a joint statement, Chairman Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala and President KCCI Muhammad Tariq Yousuf conveyed sincere gratitude to the government for providing a level-playing field to export industries, stated that as tomorrow was going to be a price game hence, Pakistani exporters have to be competitive in every manner so that they are able to not only maintain but further improve their exports share in the international markets.
They requested that the government should also look into the possibility of providing similar relief to general industries as well because as it was these industries who were the main source for import-substitute in addition to being the vendors of raw materials for the export sector.
They were of the view that the current tariffs were enormously high mainly due to two major steps including the retrospective imposition of Fuel Adjustment Surcharge being charged for previous months and the reinstatement of peak and off-peak hours which was previously abolished. As a result, the electricity tariffs have risen to a very high level in between 70 percent to 102 percent and it was purely because of these anti-business and anti-public steps.
Most of the General Industries consist of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which play a major role in the economy by providing jobs to millions of people hence, the government must support them with a view to save the economy from further destruction, they said, adding that the Karachi Chamber has been receiving a lot of complaints/ requests wherein deep concerns were being expressed over exorbitantly high electricity tariffs which simply cannot be absorbed.
Hence, Chairman BMG and President KCCI, while completely advocating the fair demand of restoring electricity tariff to the same level where it was prior to the imposition of retrospective Fuel Adjustment Surcharge and Peak & Off-Peak Hours, forcefully requested the government to consider this reasonable demand as this would help in promoting industrialization and creating employment opportunities all over the country.