Lahore: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has demanded of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to freeze the electricity tariff to keep Pakistani merchandise competitive
In a statement issued here Tuesday, the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that government would have to evolve a mechanism to fix the electricity prices in collaboration with the stakeholders for at least one year so that the consumers could know how much they have to pay and how much input cost they have to bear.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the NEPRA method to raise electricity tariff by issuing a single notification for millions of its consumers is not only unjustified but unethical as well.
“At a time when trade & industry is in deep trouble due to massive power shortage, WAPDA has reportedly moved an application to NEPRA for hike in power tariff”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz said.
He said that there was a time when a businessman calculates Return on Investment keeping in view the two factors including cost of electricity and the cost of raw material but now it is very unfortunate that even local investor has no idea of the prices of the electricity because NEPRA keeps on adding various components in power tariff and that too with retrospective effect.
The LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands well and is a staunch believer that the economic turnaround would remain and dream unless and until all institutions have the realization of causes that are hitting the economic fabric of the country. He said that at this point in time when the industries is getting a little gas, productions have nose-dived and industrial growth is decreasing, any further increase in the prices of electricity is bound to keep the economy hostage for years to come.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that it is common phenomenon that in unusual circumstances, routine working methodologies are shelved and special measures are adopted to get rid of economic meltdown but in Pakistan the situation is the other way round.
The LCCI President also criticized WAPDA for seeking another increase in hydel electricity prices saying that it would prove last nail in the coffin as both the trade and industry were already suffering due to high electricity prices.
He urged the Federal Minister of Water & Power to direct all the power distribution companies to determine their respective electricity tariff on the basis of line losses.
“If the line losses in one DISCO are bigger than the other, the power tariff in that particular DISCO should be more than the other, the LCCI president added.
He said business community was surprised that instead of taking measures to control line losses and enhance cheap power generation up to the capacity, the policies are being evolved to add to the miseries of the business community. He said that industrial sector was passing through a critical time of its history. A large number of industrial units had already closed down their operations due to acute energy shortage. He said that situation needs corrective measures but the policy makers are doing the other way round.
The LCCI President said that Pakistan had already lost a number of international markets and the decision to increase power tariff would make the Pakistani goods more uncompetitive.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz demanded that fuel adjustment formula should also be revamped as it is hitting the consumers hard.