ICCI strongly opposes any further hike in gas tariff

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has strongly opposed any further hike in the gas tariff and warned the government to desist from taking any such decision as it would bring disastrous consequences for the business sector and unleash a new wave of high inflation for the general public that would be unbearable for them.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal President, Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that OGRA has allowed 47 percent or Rs.237 per unit (million British thermal unit) increase in the prescribed price of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) taking it from Rs.501 to Rs.738. Similarly, OGRA 28 percent or Rs.60 per unit increase has been allowed in the prescribed price of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) taking it from Rs.578 to Rs738. They said that combined impact in the increase of prescribed price of both companies would put additional burden of around Rs.60 billion on their consumers, which was totally unjustified. He said that instead of improving the performance of gas companies and introducing reforms in them to reduce their losses, government was passing on the burden of their inefficiency to the people that was not justified.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that PTI government has already increased gas tariff up to 143 percent due to which consumers were paying exorbitant bills. He said that due to the record fall in the value of rupee, high cost of electricity and other factors, business community and the general public were already facing great problems and in these conditions any further hike in gas tariff would put unbearable burden on the common man that could cause problems for the government as well.

ICCI President said that gas was key input for industry and further hike in its price would cause manifold increase in production cost. He said Pakistan was already facing rising trade and fiscal deficits and to cope with these challenges, government should have taken measures to bring down the cost of doing business to facilitate the growth of business activities and enhance exports. However, he cautioned that any further hike in gas tariff would make our exports very uncompetitive leading to further slump in exports. He urged that government should turn down the proposals of OGRA for increasing gas tariff in order to save private sector and the common man from further troubles.

Reported by: Ch. Mudasar Iqbal