KCCI slams NEPRA’s decision to allow Rs7.052 per kWh adjustment in fuel charges

KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh has strongly condemned NEPRA’s decision to allow an increase of Rs7.0562 per kWh as adjustment in fuel charges component for the month of January 2024 which was totally unacceptable as it would not only raise the cost of doing business but also intensify hardships for common man who was trying really hard to somehow meet both ends in the ongoing era of inflation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, President KCCI stated that it was highly unfair to allow an additional sum of Rs7.0562 per kWh to be charged from all categories of consumers for January 2024 with an excuse of variation in fuel charges. “All the citizens as well as members of business community have already paid their bills for January 2024 so NEPRA has advised to take variation in fuel charges for January 2024 under a separate head in bills of March 2024 which would not only affect budgeting of almost all the households but also terribly raise the costs for the month of March for all types of manufacturing units all over the country”, he said, adding that the business community was already battling hard for survival due to high cost of doing business which has made Pakistani goods uncompetitive in the international markets and unaffordable for common man.

Iftikhar Sheikh, while urging the government to take notice of all the wrongdoings going on at NEPRA, stated that the regulator has been fearlessly and mercilessly giving go ahead to raising tariffs regardless of thinking of the repercussions on the economy, trade, industry and the lives of poor masses who were finding it impossible to pay their electricity bills. “The unbearably high electricity bills have created a terrifying situation wherein the industrialists find it unfeasible to keep their units operational, hence, many SMEs have completely closed down whereas the industries have also curtailed their activities, which has resulted in making thousands, in fact millions of people jobless all over the country.”

He feared that large number of individuals, after losing their jobs and seeing unbearable electricity bills, would have no other option but to either default bill payment, confront electricity service provider staff when it comes in for disconnection due to non-payment or go for Kunda connection or come out on streets to protest and create law and order situation which would ruin the entire fabric of society. “The circular debt continues to go up and has crossed Rs5.73 trillion only because of the fact that efforts were hardly being made to deal with theft and line losses. They are trying to avert further increase in circular debt by raising the tariffs which is not a wise move as the hefty bills would further worsen the situation by encouraging the public to go for theft all over the country”, he added.

He appealed the government to refrain NEPRA from taking such anti-people and anti-business decisions which have brought businesses at the verge of collapse and endangered lives of the poor public.