Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassam Teli has urged the federal government to strictly order K-Electric to immediately stop and defer Industrial Support Package Adjustment (ISPA), which is being charged retrospectively in a very odd situation as all the industries remain completely shut due to the outbreak of coronavirus and it was impossible to pay such exorbitant electricity bills carrying ISPA.
Addressing a press conference along with Presidents/ Chairmen all seven industrial town zones of Karachi, BMG Chairman said that the Karachi Chamber and all seven industrial town zones across Karachi, have unanimously agreed that they will only pay electricity bills without ISPA charges and no additional charges will be paid by anyone hence, K-Electric must advice banks to accept electricity bill payments without ISPA. “Failure to accept payments without ISPA would leave no other option for the industrialists but not to pay the entire bill”, he added.
Vice Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, Former President Junaid Esmail Makda and Former Senior Vice President KCCI Jawed Bilwani were present on the occasion while the industrial town associations were represented by President Site Association of Industry Suleman Chawla, President Federal B. Area Association of Trade & Industry Abdullah Abid, President Korangi Association of Trade & Industry Sheikh Umer Rehan, President North Karachi Association of Trade & Industry Nasim Akhtar, President Bin Qasim Association of Trade & Industry Naveed Shakoor, President Landhi Association of Trade & Industry Noman Yaqoob and President Site Superhighway Association of Trade & Industry Shaheen Ilyas Sarwana were also present at the press conference.
Siraj Teli further stated that the federal government must stop injustices and have some mercy on the citizens and the business & industrial community of Karachi, which contributes more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer yet the business & industrial community of this city only was compelled to pay all the taxes and go through all kinds of injustices and discrimination which is unacceptable. “Karachiites are tired and losing their patience now but we still are calm otherwise, whosoever sits in this auditorium today, would have gone out on the streets along with thousands of labors to protest against the policies of the government. We are silent only because of the outbreak of coronavirus otherwise we would have been out on the streets”, he said, adding that if K-Electric resorts to arm twisting by disconnecting the electricity, the industrialists will shut down their industries.
Siraj Teli further pointed out that on one hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan urges to support the industries, businesses and also relief to the exporters but on the other hand, PM’s aide was taking measures to completely destroy the industries and businesses which is beyond our understanding.
He said that Karachi city has been receiving step motherly treatment from all the governments from time to time and the same was being done by the present government led by PM Imran Khan. He said that although some relief measures have been announced and more have also been assured by Prime Minister in the days to come but all these measures and reliefs were useless as the industries remain shut and exports around the globe have come to a halt because of the coronavirus. “Instead of announcing such futile measures, the government should announce those particular measures that could ensure that the wheels of the industry keep on spinning”, he stressed, adding that every week, SSGC resorts to load shedding, K-Electric continues to loot the industrialists and the masses by sending exorbitant bills and all the taxation policies are devised in such a manner to further squeeze the taxpayers of Karachi only, which contributes more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer and 50 percent of the country’s exports were taking place from this city as largest number of industries are based in Karachi. “It seems that all the arm-twisting was being done to extract taxes from the taxpayers of Karachi only while the rest of the country appears exempted”, he added.
He further criticized that the reduction of just 0.75 percent in interest rates was not less than a joke which is way beyond the understanding of the business & industrial community as many countries all around the world have reduced their interest rates and even gone to zero or negative but unfortunately, in Pakistan a meager reduction of just 0.75 percent was announced by Governor SBP.
Commenting on the disaster being caused by coronavirus, he said that the entire world including Pakistan was completely disturbed because of the life-threatening virus which has confined 90 percent of Karachi’s population at their homes which is a good sign as it would help in containing this virus from spreading further. Sindh government, particularly Chief Minister Sindh, has been doing a commendable job in dealing with the coronavirus and they deserve to be highly appreciated. “It is the need of the hour and our responsibility that all the decisions taken by the present government must be strictly obeyed by the entire nation”, he added.
He feared that the situation was worsening day by day and it seems that the country may be heading towards lockdown hence, the government should announce relief by allowing payment of just 50 percent of gas and electricity bills so that the funds saved could be utilized by the industries on the poor labor force but instead of providing such relief, the industries were being compelled to pay ISPA which is highly unfair in the current scenario in which the business & industrial community has to take care of its idle labor force and also ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness at their industries to save workers from the coronavirus.
CAPTION: Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Siraj Kassam Teli addressing a press conference here at KCCI on Saturday. Vice Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, Former President Junaid Esmail Makda and Former Senior Vice President KCCI Jawed Bilwani along with Presidents of all seven industrial town Associations are also seen in the picture.