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June 16, 2019

ICCI slams NEPRA for further hike in power tariff

Islamabad

June 16, 2019

Islamabad : The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has slammed the decision of NEPRA to allow uniform increase of Rs1.49 per unit in power tariff to all power distribution companies and termed it an unfavorable decision as it would further enhance the cost of doing business, increase inflation and affect the growth of business and industrial activities.

Rafat Farid, acting president and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, vice president, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that power tariffs in Pakistan were already quite high, which were the main cause of high production cost and in these circumstances, NEPRA has allowed further hike in power tariff to recover around Rs190 billion from all consumers in 15 months in line with a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They said that this move would have a negative impact on business sector, as it would further enhance the production cost, increase inflation for people and make our exports further uncompetitive in the national market.

They said that the rupee has depreciated greatly against dollar touching Rs.158 against a dollar in interbank market just recently. They said that the industry was importing lot of inputs to meet manufacturing needs and big fall in value of rupee against dollar would make import of raw material for industry very costly. They stressed that government should take strong measures to bring stability in the local currency in order to save businesses from further losses.

Rafat Farid said that Pakistan’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation was the main cause of high cost of doing business. They said that hydroelectricity was the cheapest source of energy for the country and government should take all possible measures to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and exploit hydro energy source. They said it was high time that government should make transition from conventional and to renewable energy sources for generating cheap electricity.

ICCI acting president said that government should reduce duties and taxes on renewable energy related equipment in the budget to make this source of energy easily accessible for people. He said energy generated through fossil fuels was not only very costly, it was also threatening for environment while government was also spending billions of dollars on import of oil. He said compared to it, the renewable energy was environment-friendly and cost-effective, therefore, government should pay more attention to this important source of energy. He was of the view that the transition from convention to renewable energy sources would enable the country to avoid repeated hikes in power tariffs and provide cheap energy to business sector and the public.

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