SCCI concerned over increase in gas tariff for industries

By Bureau report
December 05, 2023

PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Monday Ishaq expressed concern over the increase in gas tariff for industries in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including textiles, to Rs3176 per mmbtu under the blended gas policy.

At a joint press conference at the Chamber House on Monday, SCCI President Fuad Ishaq and KP Textile Mills Association Chairman Kamran Shah stated that imposing excessive gas tariff on KP, where gas production is surplus, was a sheer violation of Article 158 of the country’s Constitution.

SCCI PresidentFuad Ishaq speaks during a press conference alongside the KP Textile Mills Association officials in Peshawar on December 4, 2023. — Facebook/Sarhad Chamber Peshawar

Members of the business community said that 50 per cent of industries in KP had closed after the imposition of the blended gas policy and RLNG rate, making running businesses and industries not only difficult but impossible in the province. In response to reporters’ queries, Fuad Ishaq said the total gas production of KP is 550mmcfds, while its consumption is 200mmcfds, making the imposition of the blended gas policy highly alarming.

The SCCI chief added that not a single industrial gas connection was granted to KP in the past 13 years, contrasting with Punjab, where industrial gas connections were provided, reflecting a discriminatory attitude.

During the press conference, senior leader of the businessman forum Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, SCCI Sanaullah Khan, Ijaz Khan Afridi, Riaz Arshad, Malik Niaz Ahmad, Faiz Muhammad Faizi, and others expressed concerns over the policy which they said was discriminatory.

The KPTMA chairman said the textile industry was the backbone of the country’s economy, saying that out of 15 textile units, seven had almost shut in KP, while the rest were running at the 50 pc capacity. The speakers condemned the doubling of gas tariff under the blended gas policy, describing it as a complete injustice to KP.

Ilyas Bilour stated that it was not the duty of the business community to fight with the government but to raise issues to have resolved through mutual consensus and table talks. He urged the government to ensure due constitutional rights to KP.

The SCCI chief, while responding to questions about future actions or protests, affirmed the business community’s belief in unity, tolerance, and harmony. He urged the government to review the gas tariff hike in the best interest of the industries and the country’s economy.