LAHORE: Expressing deep concerns over deepening gas and electricity crises the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the government to remove inefficiencies in the system to ensure adequate supplies throughout Pakistan.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that due to severe energy crisis, the investment scenario has spoiled in the province and so much so existing industrial units have curtailed their productions. “Punjab is hub of the industrial activities and non-availability of gas & electricity for the Punjab industry is a serious threat for GDP growth” he warned
He said by bringing power and gas distribution loses to international level the supplies could be substantially increased. He said currently the distribution loses range from 9 percent in Islamabad Electric Supply Company to over 35 percent in Sukker Electric Supply Company. As a first step he added the government should make the company with lowest line loses as benchmark and ask all power utilities to bring down the loses to that level within a month. At the same time he added over Rs600 billion recoveries of power dues should be made on war footing to improve liquidity in the power system.
He said acute electricity and gas shortage has not only crippled the trade and industry but has also brought widespread unemployment and poverty. He said that Punjab contributes nearly two thirds to the GDP of Pakistan. Yet he regretted Punjab is being made the worst victim of injustice.
He said that non-availability was hitting all sectors of economy including trade, industry and agriculture hard.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said the private sector was engine of the growth and in the developed countries it is facilitated to the maximum but in Pakistan circumstances are quite the other ways round.
He said that LCCI has repeatedly warned the government of massive lay-offs and industrial closures if it fails to immediately stop power outages but people sitting on the helm of the affairs are playing the role of silent spectators.
The LCCI President said that the government should understand that economic well being is a must for democracy. Unemployment, industrial closures always gives birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of gas and electricity to the industry.
He said that the industry needs continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports are not up to the mark.