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January 24, 2021

Businessmen warn to move court against gas suspension

Business

January 24, 2021

KARACHI: Businessmen on Saturday warned the government of moving the court of law against the shutdown of gas supply to captive power plants, saying the decision is anti-business.

In a joint statement, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Pakistan Apparel Forum said if the gas is discontinued the industrialists reserve legitimate rights to invoke Article 199 of the constitution and approach the court of law to safeguard their lawful rights and legitimate businesses.

KCCI President Shariq Vohra, Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman Jawed Bilwani and Businessmen Group Chairman Zubair Motiwala also termed the decision of electricity tariff hike as ‘unwise and ill-timed’, which will devastate export-oriented industries, disturb local production of general industries, sabotage all the efforts being made to enhance exports.

This is not the right time to impose such anti-business and anti-exports decisions as the exports, particularly the textile exports, have started picking up some pace and the exporters have booked substantial number of orders, they said.

The businessmen said the decision was one-sided and taken without taking all the stakeholders onboard. The government must realise that the decisions will only favour competitors who will take advantage of the situation by attempting to somehow get all the orders achieved by Pakistani exporters shifted to respective countries, they said.

The businessmen said the government has to decide whether it is in the larger interest of the country and Karachi to deprive more than 4,500 domestic industries of the city from gas which they rightfully deserve. The government will be held responsible for all the losses of the industries of Karachi and layoffs, colossal financial losses of industrialists, loss of revenue which will create uncertainty, chaos and law and order situation.

When gas was discovered in the country, the industries were the first / pioneer gas customers while it is an irony that the industries of Karachi has been continuously victimised and their deserving share of gas was also been given to K-Electric in the past.

KCCI and Pakistan Apparel Forum also questioned why the government allowed K-Electric to install plants to produce electricity from gas without signing any gas sales agreement in the past. The country has been facing acute shortage of gas for the last 10-15 years. The government has placed embargo on new industrial gas connection since 2011, while it is providing domestic gas connections and has also given gas to KE.