KARACH: Businessmen Group chairman Zubair Motiwalla has announced plan to stage protests, including a sit-in outside the head office of the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL), against the suspension of supply to non-export general industries.

Addressing a meeting at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here on Saturday, he said gas was not available to the CNG sector, general industries and even the domestic consumers, wondering where the 940 mmcfd gas had gone.

Mr Motiwala said that details of utilisation of 940mmcfd gas available in the SSGCL’s system must be made public so that the business and industrial community could review the overall demand-supply situation.

He suggested that the SSGCL should carry out a staggering gas holiday once a week along with better load management to keep entire Karachi operational without any problem. The gas supply suspension to all types of industries was hampering the overall production activities, he added.

Suggest staggering gas holiday once a week

He said the SSGCL’s strategy to shut down general industries and keep the export-oriented industries operational might trigger hatred and confrontation amongst export and non-export industries.

Mr Motiwala said it was unfair to suspend gas supply to the general industries which were higher in number as compared to export-oriented industries. General industries supplied essential raw materials to export-oriented industries and both being an integral part of the supply chain must stay operational, otherwise the economy and exports would suffer badly, he warned.

He feared that gas suspension to general industries would not only result in increased unemployment but also fuel massive inflation due to shortage of essential goods in the market.

According to a press release issued by the KCCI, Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh has fully endorsed the standpoint of industrialists and said that the Sindh government was fully cognizant of the issue and would fully support the business and industrial community’s legitimate demand of uninterrupted supply to Karachi.

“Suspension of gas to industries in Karachi would have serious repercussions due to city’s enormous and most vibrant role in the country’s economy, therefore, the federal government has to take up this matter on top priority and come up with a feasible solution to this grave problem,” the minister said.

Chairman of the Pakistan Tanners Association (Southern Zone) Amanullah Aftab said in a statement that the area of ChamraMandi (Sector 7-A, Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi), which is contributing significantly to the leather exports with approximate 40 per cent share of total exports of leather sector of Pakistan, was deprived of gas these days.

He said severe scarcity of gas would lead to cancellation of export orders, resulting in loss of foreign exchange.

Mr Aftab recalled that the government had assured export-oriented sectors for regular gas supply for the execution of export orders.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2021

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