Monday December 04, 2023

‘Karachi industries suffering due to delay in decision on KE incremental consumption package’

October 03, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The inordinate delay in decision-making is fatal for Karachi-based industry which is suffering a lot due to the pending tribunal decision on the application of K-Electric that has challenged the extension of incremental consumption package for K-Electric industrial consumers.

The Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) in its statement said on Monday that the whole country is benefiting from incremental consumption package except for Karachi-based industries.

The Nepra tribunal is one of the main factors causing this delay, as the case has been pending in the Nepra Appellate Tribunal for a year without much progress. There has been multiple hearing, and things have not moved forward. The Nepra needs to expedite and resolve this case, it said.

The tribunal seems to be a bottleneck for delayed cases, and “we are suffering due to their incompetence,” the association said, adding that the tribunal appears to be an inadequate department that is discouraging Karachi-based industries from remaining functional, potentially leading to the closure of all industries if this issue is not resolved.

“We earnestly request the government to prioritise the resolution of this issue in the next 30 days. Karachi-based steel industry has been running from pillar to post for the last two years for the legitimate right,” Wajid Bukhari, Secretary General PALSP said. “Our association knocked the doors of all the concerned departments, officials and adopted the legal route through filing case in courts for issuance of notification to avail the facility and its legitimate right but all efforts in vain and seems deaf ears of Nepra, Ministry of Energy (Power Division) as well as KE,” he said.

Exhausting every avenue of recourse, the PALSP and other affected industries have pursued legal action, while the appeals have been made to Nepra Consumer Affairs Department, the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), the Competition Commission of Pakistan, the Nepra Appellate Tribunal, and even the Honorable Sindh High Court. However, their efforts have been met with a disheartening lack of response and action.

Despite assurances from multiple quarters, including the ex-chairman of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and the current secretary of Power, the package remains elusive for Karachi industries. Promised relief has not materialised, leaving these businesses in a state of uncertainty and financial strain.

The discrimination against Karachi industries in the implementation of the incremental units consumption package sends a disheartening message. It raises questions about equity, justice, and the government’s commitment to supporting industries across the country. Such actions undermine the trust of businesses and hinder their ability to thrive.

Karachi-based industry is suffering a lot due to the non-issuance of this notification. Nowadays, when the industry which is already going through hard times and on brink of collapse due to bad economic situation, massive currency depreciation, high borrowing costs, colossal hike in input costs, especially energy prices charges that have made manufacturers weary of capital requirements made it almost impossible for them to pay high amounts of interest with meagre profit margins. The facility was like a breather but unfortunately, the industry is unable to get benefit of this facility.

The delayed tactics by the power ministry at Nepra Appellate Tribunal (AT) are untangling the industry. The case of the incremental units consumption subsidy is example of the disregard to Karachi-based industry demonstrated by the authorities.

As industries strive to navigate the complexities of the economy and energy costs, the absence of promised relief is a telling example of bureaucratic inefficiency and a lack of empathy.

For the government to achieve its economic goals, it is crucial to address the concerns of Karachi industries and demonstrate a commitment to fostering an environment of equal opportunity and support.

Other than Karachi industries, whole Pakistan is availing this package and the discrimination is going on since July 2021, the statement concluded.