PESHAWAR - Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Fuad Ishaq on Monday expressed concern over the increase in gas prices for the industries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including textiles up to Rs3176 per MMBTU under the blended gas policy.
He urged to withdraw 18 percent sales tax on industrial sector as the province has surplus gas production.
Addressing a news conference here at the chamber house, the SCCI chief and Chairman Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textile Mills’ Association (KPTMA) Kamran Shah said that it is completely injustice to impose excessive gas prices on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wherein gas production is surplus which a sheer violation of the article 158 of the Constitution of the country.
Members of the business community said that 50 percent industries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were shut after imposition of blended gas policy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and RLNG rate, which is making not only running the businesses and industries difficult but impossible in the province.
In response to a query, Fuad Ishaq said that the total gas production of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 550mmcfds against its consumption 200mmcfds, and imposition of the blended gas policy on the province is highly alarming. “Not a single industrial gas connection was given to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the past 13 years, contrary to that industrial gas connections were provided in Punjab, which was tantamount of discriminatory attitude of the rulers,” he added.
The businessmen said that imposition of the blended gas policy with a ratio of 80/20 was completely unjust and against the Constitution of the country.
The KPTMA chairman said the textile industry is the backbone of the country’s economy. Seven out of 15 textile units have almost shut in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the prevailing scenario while rest of industrial units were running with capacity of 50 percent.
Furthermore, he said that textile industries consume only 10mmfcds gas whereas the gas is in surplus quantity and consumption is less despite that discriminatory attitude is being carried out with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa industries, which is highly deplorable.
Former president of the KPTMA, Afan Aziz, said that after increasing the prices and supplying gas at RLNG rates, the prices have now been doubled under the blended gas policy, which is injustice with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that efforts are being made to deprive the province affected by terrorism of constitutional rights which is very worrying and this discrimination should be stopped immediately.
Ilyas Bilour in reply to a query said that it is not the duty of the business community to fight with the government but we would try to raise issues of the community before it and resolve them with mutual consensus and table talks. He demanded of the government to ensure due constitutional rights to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Fuad Ishaq said that the business community believes in unity, tolerance and harmony and would try to resolve the issue by following the way of negotiation with the government and relevant authorities. However, he urged the government to review its decision in the interest of industries and the fragile economy of the country.