Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry ICCI criticized the proposed increase in the power tariff by Rs.4 per unit across the board after National Electric Power Authority Nepra allowed a hike in power rates to IESCO.
Mr.Saeed Ahmed Bhatti, Acting President of ICCI said that the proposed increase in the electricity rates every fortnight would add to the woe of public as they were already burdened by price hike of petroleum products. He said that the Caretaker Government should not approve this power tariff hike to save businessmen and the general public from further trouble.
ICCI Acting President said that power tariff in Pakistan was already highest in the region and in this situation; there was no justification to further increase it.
He said that during the last two years, Government has made frequent hikes in power tariff making it more than 7080 percent costly which has shattered the confidence of businessmen and investors in our economy.,
He was of the view that consistency in power tariff was the key requirement for making long term business expansion plans. Frequent increase in electricity tariff was affecting investment and also destabilizing the economy, he added.
Mr. Bhatti was of the view that instead of hiking electricity rates, government should focus on bringing more efficiency in the working of power transmission and distribution companies because the prevalent inefficiency of these companies has touch 29 percent and was causing losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer apart from affecting the entire national economy.
He urged the Caretaker Government to take the concrete steps to check line losses rather than increasing electricity rates which would be greatly helpful to control the escalating prices of electricity.
ICCI Acting President said that our country would become a trading hub if appropriate measures to ensure proper supply of cheap electricity to the industry are not taken but nobody bothered to even listen to the voice of trade and industry.
He said that the flight of capital had intensified in the recent years only because of flawed government policies especially relating to energy and infrastructure.
He said that the ultimate solution to the ongoing power crisis lied in the construction of small water reservoirs and dams as well as tapping the coal potential the country owned as the cost of producing per unit electricity from hydel is around Rs.3 and Rs.6 from gas against Rs.16.5 from furnace oil.
Therefore, the Country would have no future unless effective management of power sector, curtailing thefts, initiating new hydroelectric projects and revisiting energy mix, he added.