KARACHI: Trade and industry has expressed serious concern over the recent increase in fuel prices, including gas and electricity, and termed it detrimental not only for export-oriented industries but other sectors also.
The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has termed the decision as a self-defeat of the new government and against the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The apex body of trade and industry recalled that the prime minister had been assuring the businesses of ‘ease of doing business,’ for promoting industrialisation in the country. But unfortunately, the price hike of gas and electricity negated his commitments.
FPCCI Senior Vice President Syed Mazhar Nasir said that a 2pc-hike in per unit price of electricity and a steep rise in gas tariff would increase the production cost and, as a result, Pakistani products would not be able to compete on the world markets.
Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Bedwear Exporters’ Association (PBEA) Shabir Ahmed lamented that Pakistani products are already uncompetitive in the world market and this fresh hike in fuel prices would prove to be the last straw on the camel’s back.
He further said that the manufacturing concerns and export-oriented industries would be the main victims of this decision as they have to compete with products of regional countries in the international market.
Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (Kati) Tariq Malik was critical of the decision and said that if the new government keeps taking such decisions, the trade and industry would not be able to sustain, and will ultimately collapse. `
The hike in fuels like gas and electricity should be balanced or close to the regional countries if the country’s exports have to be protected or increased but with such decisions, he said, the economic conditions of the country would not improve.
The regulatory duty slapped by the out-going government on imports has already rendered many industries uncompetitive. Increase in fuel prices would prove to be further disastrous.
These industry leaders have demanded an immediate withdrawal of price hike from gas and electricity, and further pointed out that the recent rise in petroleum prices should also be withdrawn.
They further said that increasing cost of production, it does not only makes exports uncompetitive but also discourages new investment which was badly needed by the country to enhance production base and creating new jobs.
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018