President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Shariq Vohra, while referring to Power Division’s notification in which K-Electric (KE) has been allowed to increase rates of electricity ranging from Rs.1.09 to Rs.2.89 per unit with effect from September 1, 2020, stated that this anti-business move would give a serious blow to the trade & industry which was still struggling really hard to recover from the disaster caused by the lockdown for six months imposed to contain Covid-19 pandemic.
While rejecting outright the federal government’s decision to increase KE’s tariff, Shariq Vohra said Karachiites are already suffering badly due to unbridled inflation hence the hike in KE’s electricity bills was unacceptable and must be withdrawn immediately. “Although the lawmakers are assuring that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government were striving to control inflation by making earnest efforts but it is really unfortunate that they have given go ahead to KE for raising its tariff which would not only intensify the hardships for business community due to high cost of doing business but would also terribly affect the poor masses who are already overburden due to inflation while KE’s tariff hike would further worsen the situation”, he added.
“Indeed it is a huge disappointment that the Federal Government, instead of providing relief to the already burdened citizens of Karachi during the ongoing difficult times, continues to take anti-business and anti-Karachi actions. It is well known fact that the economic hub of Pakistan is passing through worst possible crisis and suffering badly due to crumbling infrastructure, electricity load shedding, gas and water shortages etc. For God’s sake, please have mercy on poor citizens and the anxious business & industrial community of Karachi which is battling for survival”, he stressed.
Shariq Vohra pointed out that on one hand, the government has been pushing the business & industrial community to enhance their productivity and exports so that more wealth and employment opportunities could be generated in order to improve the ailing economy but how is it going to be possible when on the other hand, they give go ahead to electricity tariff hike which by all means is an anti-business and anti-people move. The cost of utilities in Pakistan are much higher as compared to regional countries, making our products uncompetitive in the international markets. “The economy and businesses would only flourish when the cost of doing business is brought down by substantially reducing the electricity, gas and water tariffs while all other exorbitant taxes and duties must also be reduced and the government will have to particularly make all-out efforts to rebuilt Karachi’s dilapidated infrastructure which has been the top most reason behind the poor industrial performance of all the industries situated in seven industrial zones of Karachi.”
“The decision makers will have to understand that if the cost of input rises, it would lead to poor performance and reduced output of the industry, resulting in lower revenue collection, shrinking employment opportunities and making the production uncompetitive in the domestic as well as international markets”, he added.
He mentioned that the Karachi Chamber has been strongly opposing this particular increase in K-Electric Tariff and urged the authorities through media statements issued on July 10, 2020 and September 3, 2020 to refrain from raising KE’s tariff. Although the increase was postponed at that time but it has once again been imposed in an odd situation when the businesses are desperately questing hard for survival.
He hoped that keeping in view all the above mentioned facts, the government would review KE’s electricity hike notification and immediately withdraw the same which would certainly be highly appreciated not only by the business & industrial community but also by people belonging to all walks of life.