LAHORE - Rejecting the huge jump in electricity tariff for industry from Rs9.18/kwh to Rs14.82 under the new energy policy, the business community has asked the government to generate revenue through new investments in energy sector by attracting oversees Pakistanis introducing better regulations as economy cannot grow in presence of energy crunch.
They said that access to energy is imperative to transform lives but it does not mean to increase power tariff up to 74 per cent in one go, saying the move is likely to have serious repercussions on the economy and masses. They said that the government’s move was against its manifesto of economic revival and poverty alleviation, adding that this step would raise products’ prices by at least 33 per cent.
All Pakistan Business Forum chairman Nabeel Hashmi observed that average electricity tariff for industry in the region is below 10 cents against 14.4 cents in Pakistan, as power tariff cost in China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is 8.5 cents, 11.3 cents, 7.3 cents and 9.2 cents respectively.
He said that industries already face deteriorating law and order situation, complexity of taxes, curtailed supply of gas and now the power tariff hike would further hit the exports and the revenue. Hashmi said that the government’s move was against its manifesto of economic revival and poverty alleviation, adding that this step would raise products’ prices by at least 33 per cent. He said that the APBF has held the executive committee meeting to condemn this price hike. The meeting was addressed by Yaqoob Izhar, Mudasser Masood, Central Executive committee members, Munir K. Bana President APBF Sind Chapter and Faisal Shah President APBF Fata.
Central Vice President Imtiaz Rastgar suggested the government to evolve a mechanism to become more effective in facilitating investments in the country and for this purpose oversees Pakistanis should be given maximum incentives to win their trust.
He said that government failed to attract foreign investment particularly in energy sector, as the present process of approval of projects discourages investors. There is need to work on a one window system where the investor can be provided all necessary information and facilities.
“If government serves its overseas Pakistanis and take initiatives by providing them incentives then they can play a vital role in boosting Pakistan’s economy through their remittances and investments for the socio economic prosperity of Pakistan”, he remarked. Imtiaz observed that such an unprecedented increase in electricity tariff is mounting the cost of production on account of electricity cost, interest rate and high labour cost due to comparatively low productivity comparing with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.