PM likely to announce energy relief for industrial sector

ISLAMABAD: As the government has added to the industrialists’ problems by increasing the power tariff, PM Imran Khan may soon announce a relief in energy prices for the industrial sector.  

The PM has assured the business community of a “good news” regarding power tariff, said industrialists who met with the prime minister on Wednesday. 

“High energy prices increase the cost of production and makes the country uncompetitive globally. The incumbent government will soon come up with a package of cheap electricity for the industry so as to realise its true potential,” Wajid Bukhari, a representative of the steel sector, quoted the prime minister as saying.  

During the meeting, which was held to discuss the issues faced by the industrial sector, Imran Khan noted that expensive electricity was a major hurdle in industrial growth, making Pakistan uncompetitive in the regional market.  

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Hammad Azhar, Asad Umar and Omer Ayub, advisors to PM Abdul Razak Dawood and Dr Ishrat Hussain, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and the FBR chairman.  

Wajid Bukhari, the secretary general of Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers, informed the premier that steel was the mother of all industries and a backbone of the country’s economy, having potential to attract more investments. To facilitate this industry, the government must ensure ease of doing business, reduce the cost of inputs like raw material, electricity and gas, and provide a level playing field.”  

He lamented despite the importance of steel for the economy, the domestic steel industry remained ignored, adding that all previous governments opted the policy of incentivizing the traditional sectors only.  

He maintained that the local industry has the potential to meet the domestic demand.  

Bukhari gave examples of neighboring countries where export-oriented policies brought them on the map of steel exports. “If the government provides us with the required support, Pakistan has the capacity to export steel to countries like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.” 

He said the government needed to take urgent measures to stop the production and sale of substandard steel in the country, adding that the industry required a long-term roadmap through a National Steel Policy.  

He stressed the need structural reforms to make the industry competitive.  

During the meeting, various suggestions were considered to overcome the issues faced by the industry, especially high energy prices. The PM called for urgent resolution of energy-related impediments and ordered the officials concerned to share consider the business community’s proposals.  

The PM said keeping in mind the losses caused by coronavirus, it was necessary to find solutions to the problems faced by the industrial sector on a priority basis. He appreciated the proposals from the industry and assured that all possible efforts and steps would be taken to promote industrial processes through optimum utilisation of existing capacity. 

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