LAHORE: The apparel industry has criticised what it called excessive billing by the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Lahore, believing high energy costs coupled with rising water charges will have a disastrous impact on exports and trigger a crisis in the export-oriented textile sector.
Speaking at a meeting of industrial representatives on Saturday, Sunder Industrial Estate Garment City Director Adeeb Iqbal urged the Punjab government to immediately issue directives and stop officials of the Environment Department from harassing businessmen. He revealed that officials of the provincial body were frequently visiting business premises of industrialists and such a move would reverse all efforts of the government aimed at accelerating economic activities in the province.
He added that aquifer charges of Rs100,000 per month, imposed on the industries extracting water through tube wells of one-cusec capacity, were exorbitant and should be rationalised.
He urged Wasa to review its decision of fixing water charges on a monthly basis for the industrial sector.
Iqbal elaborated that the agency had fixed Rs100,000 per month and Rs50,000 per month for the installation of tube wells having capacity of one cusec and half cusec respectively by the industrial and commercial sectors while a 10% surcharge was also applicable to late payment.
“At a time when the industry is in trouble due to high input costs, falling competitiveness in the international market and various other challenges, fixing water charges will give birth to further challenges to the industrial sector,” he remarked.
The garment city director recalled that earlier businessmen calculated the return on investment keeping in view the cost of doing business but under the present scenario, they could not plan for the future at all.
“The garment industry, being one of the stakeholders, wants to give suggestions for a sustainable road map for the restoration of natural ecology of the provincial capital,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2020.
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