Further hike in electricity tariff will hammer last nail in the coffin for industry – Mian Shaukat M

  • February 23, 2009

Throughout the world governments are coming up with bail out and stimulus packages by drastically cutting down interest rates, injecting money in banking systems and by taking other measures to support their business entities to fight the recession, but it seems that our polsicy makers have no time to pay attention to business community problems because so far no solid steps have been taken to facilitate the businessmen to cope with present economic challenges. However, any move to further hike electricity tariff would unleash disastrous consequences for trade and industry because already business community is feeling squeezed due to high interest rates & utility tariffs, frequent electricity load shedding, gas suspension to industries, unsatisfactory law and order situation and many other factors. This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement.


ICCI President said more than 80 electricity is generated through imported fuel and fuel prices in international market have drastically come down. Therefore, there is absolutely no justification to go for increasing electricity tariff. He said instead of spiking it, government should bring down electricity tariff due to hefty decrease in oil prices and not toe the line of IMF conditions. He said transmission losses, line losses and power theft are the real issues that are affecting the financial health and performance of power transmission and distribution companies and this area needs urgent attention to improve power supply situation. He said instead of addressing root causes, just resorting to raise tariff will never prove to be a sustainable solution of energy shortage. Therefore, he called upon the government to dig out the root causes of the problem instead of making conditions tougher for trade and industry.


Mian Shaukat Masud said government should take into consultation all trade bodies to formulate a consensus strategy for broadening the tax base in the country to improve our tax-to-GDP ratio, which is lowest in the Asia. He said instead of repeatedly milking the same cows for tax purpose, other sectors that are able to pay tax but not paying it, should be brought into tax net and steps should be taken to lure informal sectors into formal economy, which will improve tax revenue of the government. He said government’s dependence on indirect taxes, which are contributing more than 60% in tax revenue, is proving regressive; therefore, measures should be taken to enhance the share of direct taxes in tax portfolio.