Business community flays Cabinet for making a hefty increase in gas tariff

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LAHORE - The business community on Friday took a strong exception to the Federal Cabinet for making a hefty increase of Rs.5.5 per unit in gas tariff and called for its immediate withdrawal. They said that the collection of whopping Rs 11b from the gas consumers already paying gas bill regularly is a sheer injustice because additional collection from consumers under head UFG is against the OGRA Ordinance.

While showing grave concerns over fleecing the innocent consumers, they said that approval pertaining to collection from consumers cannot be granted above the set limits on account of unaccounted for gas (UFG). And, both Supreme Court of Pakistan and Lahore High Court had already given verdicts against additionally charging the consumers on account of stolen gas.

They said that the Cabinet decision to pass on Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) losses to consumers would not only be causing considerable increase in the cost of doing business but would particularly be hitting hard all the manufacturers who had already secured orders from their foreign buyers.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that gas theft without the connivance of concerned department is near to impossible therefore punishing the honest consumers makes no sense at all. He said that the economy was already passing through very challenging times because of an acute shortage of electricity and gas therefore the government should avoid anti-business decisions and start thinking package of incentives for trade and industry.

The LCCI President also sought status of new exploration of gas reserves and supply and demand situation saying that the SNGPL must share with the business community the latest gas reserves status as it has been reported that the current gas reserves are depleting and it will become insufficient to meet the national demand in near future. He said that there is a dire need to find out new reserves in the country.

The exploration of oil and gas is considered as a lucrative venture, the companies all over the world are eager to invest in this area, as it promises hefty dividends. What is lacking in Pakistan is a clear roadmap to channelize funds into this sector.

The LCCI President said that if any incentives are being offered to the private companies, it must be publicized so that private sector could be encouraged to divert its investment to this important sector.

Courtesy: The Nation


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