Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, ICCI has slammed the move of NEPRA for finalising unprecedented hike of Rs7.90 per unit as additional fuel cost adjustment for the electricity consumed in May 2022 and termed it a very harsh decision as it would put an additional financial burden of Rs136 billion on the consumers in their bills of July 2022. He said the decision would further enhance the cost of doing business and badly affect the production activities. He stressed that the government should reconsider this hike to save the businesses from troubles and the people from high inflation. He said this while addressing a meeting of the business community. Ms Fatma Azim, Hafiz Bilal Munir, Ch Javed Iqbal, Muhammad Saeed Khan, Raja Hassan Akhtar, Umar Riaz, Ms Parveen Khan and others were in the meeting.
Shakeel Munir said that it has become a norm in Pakistan to pass on the cost of transmission and distribution losses and power theft to the end consumers of electricity, which might have no precedent in other countries. He said that instead of putting the burden of poor performance of power companies, the government should bring drastic reforms to reduce their losses and make them efficient. He said that the energy cost in Pakistan is already highest in the region and such hikes in FCAs would further increase production cost making our exports uncompetitive. He said that according to a report of Asian Development Bank, Pakistan’s energy sector has been a major hurdle in the economic growth of the country as the energy crisis had resulted into a huge loss of $82 billion in GDP between 2007 and 2020.
ICCI president said that availability of cheap energy is the key requirement to reduce the cost of doing business, boost economic activities and generate new jobs for youth. However, high energy costs in Pakistan due to repeated hikes in power tariffs and FCAs will render our industry uncompetitive in the international market. He stressed that the government should focus on utilising the cheap energy sources to reduce energy cost that would make the private sector competitive. He further stressed that instead of making repeated hikes in power tariffs, the government should address the issues of power sector and introduce reforms in it to make it efficient and cost effective.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President and Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that the supply of energy at affordable cost is very important to accelerate the growth of agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors. However, lack of reliable and affordable power has become a major constraint to better growth of business activities. They stressed that the government should take priority measures to harness the cheap energy sources for energy generation in order to pave the way for sustained and inclusive growth of the country.