PESHAWAR: The traders and political parties have assailed government for hike in prices of power, petroleum products and other essential items at a time of unemployment and inflation in the country.

Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sherbaz Bilour, Qaumi Watan Party provincial chairman Sikandar Hayat Sherpao and Pakistan Peoples Party provincial president Mohammad Humayun Khan in their separate statements here on Monday expressed concerns over frequent increase in power tariff and prices of petroleum products.

The SCCI chief said that natural gas supply would be suspended to industrial units before February 1 and would put huge financial burden on businessmen. He said that it could cause unemployment in the industrial sector as investors would be unable to pay wages to their workers.

“Owing to the ill-conceived policies of the government, the difference between supply and demand of electricity has been widening in the country. The government is running ‘high-cost’ power plants instead of giving priority to the cheapest one, which is another reason behind the increasing prices of electricity,” he claimed.

The SCCI chief said that government was unable to provide new power connections to nearly 3,000 people, despite its tall claims of producing electricity in surplus. He asked the government to take steps for mitigating problems of traders instead of multiplying their miseries.

Similarly, QWP provincial chief Sikandar Hayat Sherpao criticised the government for increasing power tariff and said that it had put an additional burden on electricity consumers. He said that government was increasing power and gas tariffs repeatedly.

He said that flawed policies exposed the tall claims of rulers, who were yet to provide any relief to people. He said that in the prevailing situation, people were unable to feed their children.

Meanwhile, PPP provincial president Humayun Khan said that on one hand inflation was on its peak and on the other the government was unable to provide jobs to unemployed people. “The government has been up to nothing but dropping one inflation bomb after the other on the poor,” he added.

The PPP leader said that government badly failed to devise sustainable economic policy. He added that government was bent upon snatching livelihood from the people by increasing prices of food items, petroleum products, electricity and natural gas.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021

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