Karachi: Two weekly holidays and two-days-a-week CNG closure in Karachi has left virtually three workdays-a-week in Karachi for small traders and cottage industries and it is a big blow for the national economy whose affects would soon be felt at grassroots level, said All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and Cottage Industries (APOST&CI) Karachi chapter president Mehmood Hamid.
He said hidden hands working on foreign agenda to devastate Pakistani economy have targeted strategic energy sector and they are systematically damaging this basis of national economy. He said every week gas stations remained closed for at least two days and 80percent transport remains off the road, virtually suspending activities of small businesses and cottage industries. He said there are two other closed holidays of Saturday and Sunday and half workday of Friday, which means there are hardly three full workdays a week or 12 full workdays a month. He said this curtailment of workdays could have been a nightmare for economic policymakers of any civilized and saner country but our rulers, politicians, as well as, masses are least concerned on this ‘hidden drone attack’ on their economy.
Hamid said the government once again has raised the rate of petrol and kerosene oil, which is another bad news for business and industry. He said kerosene oil in not just the fuel of poor, but it is widely used in many big and cottage industries. Giving an example he said in printing industry the kerosene oil is widely used for cleaning purpose and the raise in its price has hiked the printing charges. He said increased printing charges would also mean costly books and subsequently costly education for Pakistani children. He said the present energy crisis and rising tariffs of fuel is calculated attack on our economy which is result in widespread poverty, price hike and joblessness.
He said despite passage of many the menace of load shedding is going from bad to worse. He said the privatization of electricity supply entities is the biggest exploitation of Pakistani people. He charged that the privatized entities are getting furnace oil from the government on the cost of gas, but they are charging bills on the basis of furnace oil usage. He said the government is paying subsidies of hundreds of billions of rupees from the taxpayers’ money to these entities, while there is no subsidy on wheat flour for the poor people. He said even big amenity plots are gifted to these entities which work in the country like modern editions of the East India Company. He said there are complaints that the costly copper wire electricity distribution system is being replaced with low cost ‘silver’ wire system which is a big conspiracy against the strategic electricity supply and distribution systems of the nation. He said no one including opposition political parties, dares to talk on such crucial issues.
Hamid appealed to the government to solve the energy sector issues on priority and provide sufficient energy including electricity and gas to trade and industry, especially small businesses and cottage industries so as to keep the wheels of national economy moving and create new job opportunities for Pakistani youth. He said due to persisting fuel and energy crises in the country small businesses and cottage industries are facing a bleak future and there is a need to take serious and solid efforts to salvage this crucial sector, which is also the major source of provision of jobs in Pakistan.