RAWALPINDI - All Pakistan Chambers’ Presidents Conference and women entrepreneurs on Tuesday asked the government to implement Iran-Pak gas pipeline project on top priority in order to reduce demand and supply gap as well as to cater the needs of the masses.
“The government should shun American pressure in the larger interest of the nation. If USA can sit with Iran and other states around the table to save its money, then Pakistan should also get gas from Iran” they said. The two-day conference, which was attended by over 32 chambers across the country and hosted by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), unanimously agreed in what was termed as Bhurban Declaration, that IP gas pipeline was the only option to overcome energy crisis.
President RCCI Dr Shimail Daud told a news conference that industrial units were running short of energy besides triggering investors to shut down CNG stations in country and emphasized that the government must provide gas either from Iran or Turkmenistan.
“We have made it very clear to Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal that industrial sector was on the verge of collapse. The minister assured us but we want the project to be accomplished at the earliest,” Daud said.
The conference unanimously agreed that until the IP gas project was materialized, the government must prioritize industrial sector for energy distribution in order to avert shutting down industrial units in the country. The conference also urged parliamentarians to amend constitution and make agriculture tax a federal subject in order to increase tax net as currently there was no tax collection on agriculture. “The government must implement a liberalized power production policy focusing on hydel projects, bio-fuels and LNG in order to reduce dependency on excessive oil imports,” he added.
The declaration suggested that duration of loadshedding should be set on the basis of line losses and revenue recovery position of distribution companies (Discos), adding that contracts with inefficient independent power producers (IPPs) should be cancelled. The chambers presidents also reminded political parties of their election manifestos prior to general elections in which respective political leaders had pledged to resolve energy crisis and facilitate investments in the country. “It is sad that all political parties that had pledged to reform economy and increase tax net have done away with the promises. They should stand united on resolving the core issues otherwise they are left with no option but to watch the industry sinking,” Engineer Sohail Bin Rashid, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) said.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Abdullah Zaki on the occasion said that despite operation in the metropolis, business community was not feeling secure, demanding the government to provide protection to investors. Qaisra Sheikh, president Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lahore division, said that PM’s Rs 100 billion Youth Business Loan Scheme was no doubt an encouraging project for women entrepreneurs but there was a lot to do for facilitating women in business.
The businessmen informed that chambers would continue to check governance in all provinces and would share the progress each month with public in order to make administration accountable and answerable to people.