SITE industrialists protest exorbitant hike in gas tariff

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An Emergent meeting of the SITE Association of Industry (SAI) was held to devise a strategy for a future line of action given the recent exorbitant increase in the industrial Gas tariff due to which, the industries of Karachi have become unviable to operate. The majority of the industries (Export and General Industries) may not survive and will close down.

SAI leaders, while addressing the meeting, stated that industries are already facing a hard time competing with neighbouring countries in the international markets due to high production costs, while the current exorbitant increase in gas tariff is, in no way, viable for them.

They said that in the SITE area, located at the tail-end of the network of SSGC, there is no guarantee of gas pressure despite increased gas tariff. Due to the unavailability of gas and poor pressure, industrialists of SITE are forced to use alternate fuels like wood & coal, which are not only creating environmental compliance issues for the exporting industries but are also contributing to deforestation in the country.

“It seems that industrialists are being forced to close down their units in Karachi, which will not only add to joblessness in the city but will also create law & order issues due to the sudden increase in street crimes due to joblessness of thousands of workers.” They remarked.

Members also expressed their reservations over the government’s subsidy policy, which it said favoured the fertilizer and domestic sectors at the expense of industries (whether general or export-oriented). The Association had taken up the matter with the high-ups in the government, including the Federal Energy Minister, the Federal Finance Minister and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, but to no avail.

The meeting demanded that the government apply the tariff of Rs1350 per million British thermal units (MMBTU) determined by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to industries, which was the 100 per cent cost of gas.

The industrialists unanimously resolved that the industries of SITE would go for continuous protest against the government on this unwise decision to exorbitantly increase the industrial gas tariff, which they could not bear and absorb, being already heavily burdened with the highest cost of manufacturing, which had made them unviable and uncompetitive to operate.

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