Lahore: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday strongly reacted to SNGPL’s failure to honour its commitment regarding five days a week supply of gas to the industry in Punjab and urged the authorities to fulfill their promise.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that it was beyond the understanding of the business community that instead of ensuring of supply of gas to the industry in Punjab five days a week, a notification was issued that gas will be supplied for four days only.
He said that in the last 125 days, the gas to the industry was available only for 36 days and if the situation remains the same the government should be ready for more industrial closures.
The LCCI president said that the same is the case with the electricity as over 10 hours loadshedding is a routine for the industry. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had already pointed out to the government to reset its priorities as its casual approach towards the energy supply is not only creating law and order situation in the province but it has also jacked up the graph of unemployment while the export orders are fast shifting to neighbouring countries.
“The rise in number of unemployed would definitely give air to anti-government sentiments and this single step would throw millions of industrial workers out of jobs.”
“It is not the industry only that would be suffering massively but the government would also be an ultimate loser on many counts.” The LCCI President urged the government to immediately restore five-day gas supply to the industry in Punjab to avert industrial closures and resultant massive layoffs.
“How can the industry afford to pay the all-time high mark up when there is no gas for the industry.” The LCCI President said that there is a global phenomenon that industry is given top priority whereas in Pakistan it comes to the least and other sectors are given priority.
He said that around 40 per cent of the industrial units in Punjab run on gas and gas suspension means no production by almost half of the industry and a loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer.
The ‘discriminatory attitude’ of the government was not only denting its goodwill and reputation but had also put a question mark on its ability to manage and govern things. He said that the units in Sindh were getting an almost uninterrupted supply except a two- to-three hour loadshedding.
Pointing out that the gas suspension a death knell for export-based industry and productivity, the LCCI President sought the Prime Minister’s intervention and help for a regular supply of gas to the industry in Punjab.
How the industry would be able to manage export orders worth millions of dollars when there is no gas? What about the thousands of daily wagers who have only one source of income? And above all, he added, how the government would convince both the local and foreign investors for investment when it is unable to manage the supply of gas to existing industrial units.
He said that the decision has sent a very negative signal to the foreign buyers. “Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the industry is being pushed to the wall. The gas suspension for four days a week is tantamount to throttling the industry to death.”
The shortage of gas is not the only issue its improper distribution also remains a cause of worry. The Lahore Chamber had sent an SOS call to the federal government on continuous energy disruptions as the gas and electricity were a prerequisite for the smooth functioning during winter. The government should divert all new-found gas to the network of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited network.
Expeditious import of 500 million cubic feet gas per day LNG would considerably overcome the gas shortage for the industry. Despite competitive quality and price, Pakistan exporters were unable to make delivery on time, they added.
He said that it seemed that some elements in the Gas department were hatching conspiracies against the government to defame it. He said that the businessmen were unable to understand that why the business community was not taken into confidence over industry-related issues and if the SNGPL was facing some supply related issues they must bring them to the notice of real stakeholders well ahead of time.
“It would have taken about two years to set up a system for LNG supply, had the government been accepted LCCI proposal a couple years ago.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854