‘Raise in gas prices to shatter economy’


The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has strongly criticised the decision of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) for creating massive hike of 14 percent to 207 percent in gas tariff for all consumer categories with the imposition of gas infrastructure development charges.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, the ICCI president said businesses in the country had already been facing tough challenges and further increase in gas tariff would shatter the economy, cause inflation and great pressure on the business activities.
“Sudden increase in the gas prices will put a direct impact on the transportation cost for the general masses and the prices of all commodities have been increased. Inflation has already crossed 20 percent and further increase in gas tariff would make the lives of people even more miserable,” he added.
He said the decision of two holidays in a week had negative effects on the working of industries, especially export-oriented industries, which had to work round the clock to meet the export targets throughout the year. He said the government should consider alternative measures for saving energy and enhancing the capacity of power generating units.
The ICCI chief was of the view that the government must put a stop on increase in the tariffs and instead of adopting shortcut solutions to meet the energy demands, it must develop and implement a long term strategy to overcome the energy crises and increase in inflation.
He cited the example of rising economies in India and China, where more attention and incentives were given to industrial sector. He said that attention must be given to industrial sector that would ultimately lead it towards economic progress.
He urged the government to develop comprehensive plan for newly discovered gas reserves and bring them in the system to bridge the rising gap between demand and supply of gas as its shortfall was reaching billion cubic feet.
Meanwhile, the transporters in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has also announced to observe complete strike today (Sunday) against the raise in CNG prices and load-shedding.
Talking to Pakistan Today Islamabad Taxi Drivers Association Chairman Aftab Ahmad said the government’s decision to raise the CNG prices would increase unemployment as a large number of people have been affiliated with the transport business in the country.
“Raise in CNG prices will compel many of the transporters to stop their business,” he regretted.