KARACHI: Industry representatives on Monday projected a gloomy future for the country’s economy and exports in the wake of gas supply discontinuation to captive power plants (CPPs) for general industry from Feb 1 and export-oriented sectors from March 1.
At a press conference held at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) office, the head of the apex chamber along with other representatives strongly rejected the cabinet decision and urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to revisit the decision for the survival of industry and increasing Pakistan’s exports and employment.
FPCCI president Mian Nasser Hyatt Magoo, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Shariq Vohra, Employees Federation of Pakistan president Ismail Suttar and Chairmen of All Town Associations were present in the press conference.
Mr Magoo said the decision has badly affected confidence of foreign buyers who were asking for completion of their orders. He feared that export orders may to shift to the other competing countries.
“Pakistan’s utility tariff is comparatively very high than the other regional countries. Transferring electricity from captive power to grid would take time and prove unfeasible as the cost of electricity generated by our captive powers is lower than the cost involved in shifting to grid,” the FPCCI president said.
Most of the industries are running on natural gas using boilers and regeneration systems so it was impossible to convert on the grid and change the whole appliances within one month, he added.
The decision of Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) appears to have been taken on non-professional advice and without consultation from main stakeholders, Magoo said.
He also criticised the IPP agreement signed in the past and said the decision of the CCoE doesn’t fully clarify to the prime minister about the severe impact. The decision would damage the prime minister’s vision of providing 10 million jobs as it [vision] was on the basis of industrial expansion and rising exports by the private sector, he said, adding that the public sector could not generate such huge employment.
Meanwhile, Mr Vohra and former president KCCI Zubair Motiwala said the industries would not allow K-Electric to sabotage Karachi’s progress and development. The two representatives of Karachi’s industry strongly emphasised that government should not take such decisions that create labour unrest due to closures of factories.
They mentioned that the previous government signed the agreement with IPPs in dollar terms when dollar was lower at nearly at Rs90 while now it is Rs160 due to depreciation which was also causing losses.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021