ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahmed Hassan Moughal has called on the government to take immediate measures for reducing the cost of doing business in order to facilitate business growth and turn the struggling economy around.
“The current government increased gas tariff in the range of 40-143%; it is now considering enhancing electricity and oil prices which is a cause for huge concern,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Moughal pointed out that such measures would further raise the production cost which, in turn, would badly affect business activities, cause further decline in exports and roll back all efforts aimed at improving the economy.
“In first world countries, the energy cost is fixed at affordable level for the private sector to steer production, investment, trade, exports and economic growth,” he highlighted. “However, the energy cost for industrial and commercial purposes in Pakistan is already the highest in the region due to which exports are facing stiff competition in the international market.”
He stressed that Pakistan was facing massive trade and fiscal deficits and the best way to eradicate the twin deficits was to facilitate the growth of trade and exports. However, any decision to further increase electricity and oil prices would have a negative impact on exports and would have harmful consequences for the economy.
“The government should refrain from raising electricity and petroleum prices to save the economy from additional trouble,” he emphasised.
ICCI Senior Vice President Raffat Farid and Vice President Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said Pakistan was producing most of the energy from thermal sources and rising international oil prices and the depreciating rupee were making thermal power costly day by day.
They asked the government to reduce reliance on thermal power and focus on renewable energy sources.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2018.