KARACHI, Feb 3: The price of refrigerant Freon-12 has gone up to Rs325 per kg from Rs120, causing heavy burden on the end users who now have to pay more.
As a result of this raise, people like workshop owners and mechanics of fridge and deep-freezer are facing problems. The price hike of Freon-12 by some quota holders has severely affected their business for people are discouraged to get their domestic appliances repaired. Freon-12 is used for cooling and evaporation and is filled in condenser of fridge and deep-freezers.
“The cost of Freon-12 is not more than Rs120 per kg. The fact is that the rupee has gained strength against the dollar and it must now actually be costing less than before to importers. It is unjustified on the part of quota holders to make heavy profits and create uncertainty in the market,” Mohammad Iqbal G. Hyder, chairman, Heating Ventilation Air-conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) Spare Parts Group, told Dawn on Monday.
Rupee has gained strength of 2.9 per cent in inter-bank against the greenback during July-January 2002-03 besides gaining 3.7 per cent in open market, making imports cheaper in Pakistan.
It may be mentioned here that the government has been allocating quota every year to commercial importers and local manufacturers of domestic appliances to import Freon-12. Under a Montreal Government Protocol, special quotas have been allocated to every country.
According to HVAC&R chairman, there is virtually a monopoly in the market as only three to four commercial importers have captured over 50 per cent market share as the government has given them huge import quota. Out of 1,200 tons — these four commercial importers have an import quota of 631 tons, while local industries have been allocated 105 tons. The rest of the quantity is brought by other commercial importers.
He said some local manufacturers have also taken up the issue with the association and both the industry people and importers are taking up the case with the government.
Kamran Ilahi, chairman customs committee, and Akif Shaikh, member managing committee, HVAC&R, said the group has taken up the matter with President Pervez Musharraf and commerce ministry to protect the business of the people belonging to this trade as well as end users.
They urged the president to stop monopoly of few quota holders by abolishing their quota rights and instruct the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) or other competent authority not to allot more than 50 tons of quota to an individual importer. They also called for investigation as to how quota was allocated to selected few commercial importers.