KARACHI: The increase in power tariff by up to 74 per cent has been slammed by trade and industry, with businessmen saying that the move is likely to have serious repercussions on the economy and masses.
President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Zubair Ahmed Malik said that the government’s move was against its manifesto of poverty reduction, adding that this step would raise products’ prices by at least 33 per cent.
“The industries already face deteriorating law and order situation, complexity of taxes, curtailed supply of gas etc., and now the power tariff hike would further hit the exports and the revenue,” he opined.
He said that the country’s industrial sector, particularly the large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector, which has been growing at an average 4pc, consumes more than 40pc of the total electricity in Pakistan.
Due to load shedding, industry is mostly using generators which are operated on furnace oil and diesel which usually push up cost of production besides making export-related items costlier, the representative maintained.
“The present hike in electricity would also affect domestic consumers as the electricity distribution companies have already installed multi-tariff meters at residences whereby during peak hours commercial rates are charged. The increase in commercial rates would thus automatically be applicable to the residential consumers of 200 or more units,” he informed.
Meanwhile, the Lasbela Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) also condemned the rise in power tariff.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the LCCI said that the hike would directly hit poor people because of negative impact on the prices of consumer goods.
The Lasbela Chamber strongly urged the government to withdraw the increase in power rates and maintain the previous level in order to save the commercial and industrial sector from a severe crisis as well as prevent inflation.