LAHORE, April 23: The business community in Punjab has urged the federal government to shun its discriminatory attitude towards industry regarding provision of electricity and gas in order to avoid civil disobedience-like situation brewing up because of its non-seriousness to control power outages.

“Unavailability of electricity and gas has pushed the trade and industry to the verge of collapse while bankruptcies and flight of capital are becoming order of the day,” said representatives of chambers of commerce besides trade and industrial associations of Punjab at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday.

Presided over by LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, the meeting was attended by LCCI Vice-President Mian Abuzar Shad, FPCCI zonal chairman Azhar Saeed Butt, Sahiwal Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Chaudhry Zahid, LCCI former president Mian Anjum Nisar, Steel Re-Rolling Mills Association Vice-Chairman Mian Murad Ashraf, Farmers Association Director Tariq Bucha, Tanners Association chairman Agha Sadain, Kitarbund Road Industrial Association chairman Mehmood Ghaznavi, Engineering Component and Machinery Association of Pakistan (ECMMA) chairman Rehmatullah Javed, Ferozepur Road Industrial Association chairman Saadatullah, Sheikh Muhammad Ayub of Textile Processing Mills Association, Chemical and Dyes Association chairman Khwaja Khawar Rashid besides other industry representatives.

The participants were of the view that a number of industrial units had already shifted their operations while many others were planning either to close down or to go to other countries. They said the business community of Punjab had been unable to understand the logic behind the power outages when they were paying all their dues regularly whereas in other parts of the country the recovery had been far beyond satisfaction.

The trade and industry representatives said the government should share short-term and long-term solution to the ongoing energy crisis with the private sector as unscheduled loadshedding had affected production schedules to an alarming level.

The LCCI president said no government, whether democratically-elected or caretaker, could absolve itself of the responsibility to ensure provision of basic utilities to the industrial and domestic consumers.

The business community in the province had been perturbed over the energy situation, urging the government to divert its attention towards this issue of national importance in the larger interest of the economy.

Mr Iftikhar said more than half of the total GDP of the country was being contributed by the province yet it was being ignored in the provision of gas and electricity that had created distortions in a number of sectors.

He said the prime minister should look into this highly mismanaged issue as it was very unfortunate that gas was being provided to inefficient power generation plants while the efficient ones were shut.

Mr Iftikhar said the government should also understand that it would not be able to get required revenue from the trade and industry if there were no productions.

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