Prime Minister’s decision to discount electricity welcomed; industries also need relief, KATI

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Johar Qandhari, President of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), has welcomed Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s decision to provide a 3-month electricity relief for domestic consumers using up to 200 units. He acknowledged that this measure would offer some respite to the public but urged the government to clarify the details of this concession and make it a regular feature.

Qandhari emphasized the need for similar relief measures for industries. He noted that while the Prime Minister had previously announced relief for industries, the impact was negated by subsequent electricity rate hikes by NEPRA. Highlighting the precarious state of Pakistan’s economy, Qandhari warned that many industries are on the brink of collapse due to excessive energy costs, forcing several industrialists to shut down their operations.

He pointed out that the recent increases in electricity and gas charges have made it financially unfeasible for industries to continue production and business activities. Qandhari demanded that the government reduce electricity rates to 9 cents per kilowatt and lower interest rates to 12 percent. These measures, he argued, would stimulate economic growth, boost exports, attract investment, and create employment opportunities.

Qandhari also urged the government to purchase power from cheaper, low-cost sources to reduce the burden of capacity charges on the public. He criticized the contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which he said have severely hampered the national economy. Providing electricity at 9 cents per kilowatt could lead to a significant increase in exports (estimated at US$ 6 billion), additional demand on the grid (300 MW), higher revenue (Rs. 500 billion), and reduced debt (Rs. 240 billion).

He stressed the importance of consulting with stakeholders to address their grievances and create a business-friendly environment that would enhance Pakistan’s competitiveness in the global market. Qandhari also called for a reduction in interest rates, noting that the current inflation rate is 12 percent.

President KATI expressed confidence that the business community could play a significant role in tax generation if given the necessary support and opportunities.


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