LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has opposed a hefty 13.5 per cent increase in gas prices, saying it will have devastating repercussions for the economy as it will not only oust export-oriented industries from the international market, but also push up domestic market prices.
In a statement, LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik said the gas tariff increase was bound to jack up inflation. It was very unfortunate that on August 1 prices of petroleum products were increased, the very next day prices of electricity were increased and now gas tariff has gone up, he added.
Malik said the economy was facing a critical situation and even the slightest rise in cost of production could spell doom and render Pakistani merchandise uncompetitive in the international market, which would deprive the exchequer of foreign exchange to the tune of billions of dollars.
He said textile was one of the most value-added and export-oriented sectors, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the country’s exports, adding 95 per cent of its inputs were produced locally and by making energy out of their reach, the government is in fact curbing the use of inputs.
He rejected the contention of gas companies that their prices were cheaper than several other countries, saying the rates quoted by them were not co-related with the cost of living index and did not depict a true picture.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.