LAHORE, Oct 6: Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa assured the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday that he would go the extra mile to solve its issues concerning the federal government.

During a reception for the newly-elected office-bearers of the LCCI at the Governor’s House, he discussed a number of issues including energy crisis, Pakistan-India trade, audit notices and tax system with the representatives of the business community.

While assuring his all-out support to the LCCI delegation, the governor said the government was alive to the energy issue. The prime minister’s decisions to use Thar Coal and import LNG were enough to show government’s seriousness, he said.

“Promotion of commercial activities is of supreme importance for economic stability of the country and the federal government has adopted a comprehensive economic policy. The business community has been playing a vital role in the development and progress of the country and the federal government attaches top priority to facilitate businessmen and resolve their problems,” said Mr Khosa.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar informed the governor that the government had an elaborate policy framework for energy-sector development.

“Two national energy conferences have also been held. Highest level policy and decision makers from all over Pakistan attended these conferences which formulated a consensual roadmap for tackling the crisis through better and equitable load management and greater investment. Yet the crisis is worsening,” said Mr Iftikhar and added that the province had been unfairly treated on the issue of loadshedding of electricity and gas.

“Electricity loadshedding in Punjab reached up to 20 hours in most rural areas and around 16 hours in main business cities during peak summer season. Similarly, the industry in Punjab was supplied with gas for less than 180 days last year which has not been the case in other parts of country. Shortage of gas reached an alarming level in the winter of 2011 and the repeat of same situation is expected during the coming November and February.

“It is argued that Punjab consumes over 60 per cent of total national power and consumes 46 per cent of gas. This is because Punjab is the most industrial and populous province of the country and contributes almost 60 per cent to the national GDP. Electricity and gas loadshedding has also hit the province most in terms of its capacity to produce jobs and contribute to national exchequer. Given the size of Punjab’s share in the national growth performance, if the economy of Punjab suffers the economy of Pakistan will suffer,” he said.—Staff Reporter

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