LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday supported the government’s decision to withdraw the new gas curtailment plan and continue gas supply to Punjab industries for five days a week.
Punjab alone has suffered a GDP loss of 2% to 3% due to energy shortages, said LCCI President adding that another cut in gas supply would have aggravated the situation further.
LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that continuous supply of gas and electricity to the industry was a prerequisite to strengthen the economy that has been facing multiple challenges and pressures for a long time now, according to a statement issued by the business lobby.
He said that it was not only the export-oriented textile sector that suffered badly but also the millions of industrial workers who were laid off.
If the decision to cut gas to the industry for another day was implemented it would have sparked street protests again, said Sheikh.
Sheikh said that the economic scenario is not as rosy as being painted by some circles. Foreign direct investment is at its lowest level while the Large-scale Manufacturing sector is almost stagnant whereas neighbouring countries are doing roaring business in the global market.
He said that international buyers were reluctant to visit Pakistan due to unavailability of electricity and deteriorating law and order situation in some parts of the country. He said that the cost of doing business in Pakistan is also higher when compared with regional countries while the unavailability of low cost finance has forced the businessmen to shelve their expansion plans.
“When the local businesses are unable to produce cheaper quality goods and when they can not ensure timely delivery of their foreign orders, foreign buyers have no reason to deal with us”, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.