PIAF pleads for uniform gas rates

LAHORE: Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has appreciated the government’s plan to reduce electricity tariff, urging the authorities to also provide gas at uniform rate across Pakistan to ensure affordable cost of doing business in the country.

PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh welcomed the commitment of the newly-appointed Adviser to PM for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Dr Miftah Ismail to cut power tariffs within next 10 days, stating that the government’s move will lower the cost of doing business. During a meeting with a delegation of industrialists Chairman PIAF Irfan Iqbal sheikh along with senior vice chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and vice chairman Kh. Shahzeb Akram, argued that the high cost of doing business is hindering Pakistan in achieving its export target. He also demanded for a uniform gas tariff, since Punjab faces a higher rate than the one in Sindh.

The PIAF chairman expressed the hope that the government will keep an active vigilance on early completion of all energy projects in time and there will be 100% uninterrupted supply of gas and power to industries as early as possible. He lamented that the previous government did not facilitate the maintenance of old power plants which caused several system constraints inflicting heavy losses.

Iqbal urged the power ministry to identify system constraints, communicate targets to all the concerned departments to initiate up-gradation of transmission system on war footing. He called for completing all ongoing power projects well before time. Sheikh said that business friendly policies must be adopted as other neighbouring countries of the region are giving to trade and industry. The amount specified in trade policy should be utilised for the promotion of exports by giving incentives to the trade and industry and by exploring new markets, he suggested.

PIAF chairman said that the government recent decision to increase petrol prices would significantly damage the trade and business activities across the country while the transport fares have already been escalated due to raise in diesel prices.

The PIAF had constantly been asking the government to provide cheap energy to industries by lowering the oil prices, also stressing the need for taking several other measures like reforms in taxation, lowering custom duties, a comprehensive trade policy and exploring non-conventional sectors to boost exports. He urged the government to devise a unified power tariff rate for all public sector distribution companies.

PIAF leaders appealed to the authorities to devise a cohesive policy for supply of energy inputs, ensuring equal prices across the board and remove disparity among provinces as disparity in gas prices has eroded the competitive edge of largest employment generating Punjab based energy which is compelled to use high priced RLNG, bearing almost double burden as compared to other provinces.