The industrial community in Karachi has issued a stern warning to the caretaker government, stating that if gas prices are not reduced, they will escalate protests starting from the second week of December. The Businessmen Group Vice Chairman, Jawed Bilwani, conveyed this message during a press conference, joined by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh and representatives from seven industrial associations and the value-added textile sector.

Mr. Bilwani outlined the plan for intensified protests, which includes displaying protest banners across the city and observing "no-export day" twice or even thrice a week if the government fails to address the business community's demand for reduced gas prices.

He expressed disappointment that the promised winter package for incremental electricity consumption, which included providing electricity at a reduced tariff of Rs20 per unit, has not been implemented. The focus of the protest is primarily on the recent increase in gas tariffs, which Mr. Bilwani deemed unbearable and unabsorbable.

The industrial community is demanding a fair gas tariff of Rs1,350 per mmBtu but opposes the current tariffs ranging from Rs2,100-2,600 per mmBtu. Mr. Bilwani criticized the cross-subsidy imposed on industries for the benefit of the fertilizer, domestic, and power sectors. He highlighted that this approach is unfair and penalizes the industrial sector, urging the government to reconsider the gas tariff to ensure competitiveness in the global market.

KCCI President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh expressed concern that the decision to raise gas tariffs could adversely impact value-added exports. He emphasized that industrialists might resort to exporting raw materials, providing an opportunity for competitors to take over Pakistan's export share. The business community urged the government to bring down the gas tariff to Rs1,350 per mmBtu, a cost determined by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.

Written By Web Desk

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