Gas scarcity impeding industrial growth – Mahfooz Elahi

  • January 13, 2011
Scarcity of gas is causing immense problems for the public and industries at large, the court should direct the authorities to take all necessary to ensure constant and uninterrupted supply of gas, Mahfooz Elahi, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has said in a meeting at ICCI.

The gas shortage in conjunction with electricity shortage have forced a large number of industries and small and medium enterprises to close down. He further said that this problem has resulted in the loss of more than 400,000 jobs and is inflicting on the industrial sector alone an annual loss of over Rs220bn.

Commenting on the decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of Pettosin Corporation v/s OGDCL for the construction of facilities in Tando Allah Yar and Sanjoro to process natural gas, he said that about 5 years were taken for giving a decision, which is very much unfortunate for a country like Pakistan that is suffering with deep trouble due to outage of gas and electricity. President said that Courts in the national interest must deal such cases on emergent and priority. He said that had the case been decided much earlier, 350 million cubic feet gas could have been injected into the system to overcome the current gas crisis. 

ICCI President was of the view that serious trouble lies ahead for domestic, industrial and commercial sectors unless the shortage of gas is addressed. With the constant load shedding of gas and electricity impeding industrial growth, sky-rocketing prices of electricity and consumer items, both the common men and traders are finding it increasingly hard to survive, he opinioned.

He said that the output of the industrial sector declined sharply in 2010 owing to electricity and gas shortages. He also said that if the leadership is unsuccessful in resolving the industrial problems on an urgent basis, almost 30 per cent industries might close down in 2011.

Mahfooz Elahi said that thousands of daily wage earners in the major industrial cities are facing another dilemma as gas supply was suspended for three days to industrial units. Pakistan is currently facing about 600 mmcfd natural gas shortfalls and during peak hours the gap between demand and supply reaches 900 mmcfd, this severe energy crisis in Pakistan has enormous negative impact on country’s economic development, he added.

ICCI President said Pakistan has entered into gas deals with Iran and Turkmenistan but these projects should be materialized, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project should be completed at the earliest to overcome energy crisis which the Pakistan was currently facing, he believed.

He also attributed that delay in fulfillment of export consignments has become a matter of routine due to less supply and low pressure of natural gas, He further said that gas shortage is hampering the growth of industries, which would affect the growth of overall exports of the country.

He emphasized that load-shedding should be minimized and its schedule should reflect clear and transparent priorities, sectors that deserve priority, in particular should include export industries. He urged the government to resolve issues of gas and electricity load-shedding and reduction in tariff rates on top priority basis.