The ongoing load shedding is badly affecting the production activities in the country due to which the growth has plummeted in both industry and agriculture. The slump in industrial activities is creating many difficulties for our economy due to which our fiscal deficit has climbed from 4.3 per cent of GDP to 7.4 per cent during 2007-08; the current account deficit accelerated from 4.8 per cent of GDP to 8.4 per cent; inflation has gone up to record high level of 25 percent; the rupee has depreciated heavily and the forex reserves depleted to an unsatisfactory level. These developments are producing highly adverse implications for trade and industry as well as for the common man. Therefore, to remedy the situation and to improve the productive capacity of the economy, government should immediately exempt the industrial sector from electricity and gas load shedding so that our industrial units could operate up to their full capacity for enhancing productivity and exports. These views were expressed by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while commenting on bad effects of load shedding on trade and industry.
ICCI President said due to the present energy crisis, our economy is passing through a difficult period due to great slump in industrial activities mainly caused by power shortage and high cost of doing business. He said the production cost of electricity has sufficiently risen, which in turn also raised manufacturing costs. He said the oil prices in international market have dropped significantly and demanded of the government to pass on this benefit to industry and general public by sufficiently reducing power tariff. He said government is targeting a GDP growth rate of above 6 percent for the coming years and added that without accelerating industrial activities, this target cannot be achieved. He said for sustaining GDP growth rate above 6 percent, government should provide uninterrupted power supply to industrial sector so that this sector could improve its production capacity to meet domestic demands as well as to enhance its exports. He said the current energy shortage has already led to the closure of many industrial units as without sustainable power supply, they were unable to upkeep their survival.
Mian Shaukat Masud said the previous government adopted consumption-led growth strategy which proved highly detrimental for the economy and stressed upon the government to adopt production-led growth strategy which will produce highly beneficial results for the economy. However, he cautioned that without ensuring consistent power supply,