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May 19, 2019

ICCI opposes further hike in gas tariff


May 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD : The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) 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.

ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal, Senior Vice President Rafat Farid and Vice President Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said Ogra has allowed 47 per cent or Rs237 per unit (million British thermal unit) increase in the prescribed price of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) taking it from Rs501 to Rs738.

Similarly, Ogra 28 per cent or Rs60 per unit increase has been allowed in the prescribed price of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) taking it from Rs578 to Rs738.

They said that combined impact in the increase of prescribed price of both companies would put additional burden of around Rs60 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, the government was passing on the burden of their inefficiency to the people that was not justified.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that the PTI government has already increased gas tariff up to 143 per cent 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.

The 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, the 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.

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