Business community protests against unscheduled disruption of power supply

  • April 16, 2009
Government should take immediate measures to ensure sustainable power supply to trade and industry as power shortage has again started taking heavy toll on commercial and industrial productivity in the country. This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while presiding over a meeting of ICCI members. He said trade and industrial activities remained under pressure during the last week due to shortage of power and if this trend continued, country will not be able to sustain GDP growth even at 2.5 percent and economy will experience further downward slide.

Businessmen strongly protested against the unscheduled disruption of electricity and gas supplies to business entities. They said that exports of the country were already under pressure and these would suffer more as a result of uncertain energy supplies. They urged that all ongoing projects should be completed within stipulated timeframe to overcome the current 3000 MW power shortages. They also expressed their resentment over the issuance of sales tax audit notices to them at a time when trade and industry was experiencing great slump in business activities. They said instead of adding to their problems, government should devise new strategies to enable them for smooth sailing in current troubled waters. They also expressed concerns over deteriorating law and order situation as this phenomenon was putting negative impact on economic activities. They said that industrial units that used to run three shifts a day now operate only two shifts resulting in a steady decline in the workforce.

Mian Shaukat Masud said government plans to raise textile exports up to $25 billion a year, but suspected that due to ongoing power crisis, productivity of textile industry will further go down instead of improving while achieving this target would be a far cry. He proposed establishing rental power units that are cheaper in tariff and can be discontinued once the government finds cheaper alternate power source. He said the country is endowed with rich energy resources like coal, hydel and wind which have the potential to provide cheap energy. Therefore, he stressed upon the government to announce incentives for investors to develop and exploit these resources to meet the rising energy needs of the country.