ICCI slams hike in power tariff

  • August 25, 2010
Businessmen in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) resented the 26-paisa per unit hike in electricity rate by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority under the garb of monthly fuel adjustment formula and termed it a cruel decision as it goes against the interests of people, businesses and the overall economy.

Chairing the meeting, Mr.Zahid Maqbool, President, ICCI said that the entrepreneurs and people are already facing great problems in the wake of devastating floods, which killed large number of people, uprooted more than 20 million people and caused unprecedented damage to businesses and infrastructure. He said the further  hike will make their life more miserable.

He said that at the one hand government is doing away with subsidies on electricity and on the other, it is frequently hiking power rates due to which power tariff in Pakistan has become highest in South Asia. Owing to this situation, our exports are facing stiff competition from regional competitors who are enjoying affordable power tariffs. He said that hike in tariffs will enhance cost of doing business, hurt industrial growth, exports promotion and new investment.

Mr.Zahid Maqbool said that catastrophic floods have pushed Pakistan many years back in terms of development and economic progress as key infrastructure, which took years in development, has been washed away in days. He said one viable option to rehabilitate uprooted people and restore destroyed businesses is to provide energy at affordable cost to entrepreneurs so that they could accelerate growth of businesses and provide jobs to people.

He said that instead of hiking electricity rates, government should focus on bringing more efficiency in the working of power transmission and distribution companies because the prevalent inefficiency of these companies is causing losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer apart from affecting the entire national economy.

He said that globally the standard transmission and distribution losses were less than 10 percent of the total production while Pakistan was experiencing 35-40 percent losses and stressed that these areas should be improved.

ICCI President said that government should also focus on alternative energy sources such as solar, hydro, coal, biomass & windmill energy etc as these are the cheap methods for producing electricity.

He said that Pakistan is a very blessed country because solar energy is available in most cities throughout the year. Similarly wind energy is readily available in the coastal areas. He urged upon the government to do proper planning for exploiting these cheap energy sources instead of depending on fossil fuel which is producing costly energy and stunting business growth.