Leading industrialists/ exporters have demanded that first priority in respect of gas supply must be given to industries of Karachi which contribute more than 54 percent to national exports, provide highest urban employment and generate highest taxes for the Government, besides being the highest subsidy provider.
They demanded that the Government must give industry total preference and top priority and cross subsidies should be reduced drastically and done away with. The gas charges for the domestic sector, fertiliser and other sectors should be rationalised.
There should be some other mechanism to provide relief and the tariff of the industry be reduced as well so that the industries can compete with regional competitors and it should be made mandatory on gas companies to provide gas in required quantum, pressure and price.
Worldwide the export sector is given first priority in the economic activities and it was heartening that the Government has upgraded five zero-rated export sectors’ industry to second position in the Natural Gas Load Management Policy, however, the zero-rated export sectors’ industries should be given first position and general industries must be placed on second position in the priority list followed by commercial, domestic and other sectors to increase the production and fulfil the aim of the Government to enhance exports.
The was demanded by Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, Vice-Chairman Businessmen Group & Former Senior Vice President KCCI Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Muhammad Idrees, President SITE Association of Industry Abdul Rasheed and Former President SITE Association of Industry Saleem Parekh after a meeting of leading industrialists/ exporters who had deliberations on gas problems.
The industrialists/ exporters questioned that how can the domestic sector be ranked as first priority to whom the subsidy is being provided by the industrial sector? It was highly unfair that the Government has accorded first priority to domestic sector in terms of supply of gas on subsidised tariff through cross subsidy by charging high rate of gas to industrial consumers.
They said that the industries, which were ranked below in the priority list of gas supply compiled by the government, remain starved for gas which was the most essential raw material throughout the year particularly during winter season.
Should not the sitting Government, having slogan of change, prioritise its decisions of national interest over political interest? The industries in view of their pivotal and pragmatic role in socio-economic development of Pakistan deserve first priority in respect of supply of gas, they added.
They articulated that it is an irony and highly unfortunate that industries which provide cross subsidy for gas to domestic sector lack priority in respect to gas supply while the domestic consumers have been accorded the first priority on the cost of industries. For supply of power, no such subsidy is given to domestic sector. Reason is simple that the calculation of gas pricing is done after accounting for all subsidies to be given to domestic, fertiliser and other sectors.