Karachi, December 21, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Raees Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi has said that development work of only 60 kilometres of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline was left which, on its completion along with the project of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline and setting up of LNG Terminals, will surely help in fully resolving the gas shortages being faced by the country by the end of 2018.
Exchanging views during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday, the Minister said that with lifting of sanctions on Iran, work on IP project was likely to pick up pace and it will be completed soon as only 60km work on pipeline was left.
Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Naeem Sharif, Former President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra and KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.
Murtaza Khan Jatoi said that the present government was trying its best to resolve the energy crisis being faced by the country which will all be over by the end of 2018. He said that the previous government never bothered to pay any attention to the energy crisis, resulting in a massive shortfall of 12,000 megawatts. Thus, this shortfall was inherited by the present government and it was one of the prime vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to effectively deal with this serious issue.
He said that the government has taken many initiatives to overcome electricity shortfall and they were focused on improving the country’s power generation capacity by setting up Hydro, Gas, Coal, Solar and Wind Power Plants. Murtaza Jatoi further stressed the need for effective coordination amongst Ministry of Industries and Production, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce etc. so that issues being faced by the business and industrial community could be resolved.
Highlighting the facilities being offered at various export processing zones in Karachi and other parts of the country, the minister advised the business and industrial community to consider setting up their units at these export processing zones, particularly those export zones situated in rural areas with a view to create maximum number of employment opportunities for the rural youth of Sindh.
Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, in his remarks, stated that the industry plays the role of a backbone so the country cannot run smoothly unless its industry runs smoothly. He pointed out that more than 16,000 industrial units were operational in all seven industrial towns of Karachi city, providing employment to around 2 million labours, which means these industrial units have been providing bread and butter to more than 8 to 9 million people, if the families of these 2 million labours are also included.
BMG Chairman was of the opinion that it was mandatory to ensure availability of infrastructure along with uninterrupted supply of water, gas and electricity to smoothly run industries. All these elements were the basic requirements for the industrial units located not only in Karachi but also in all other provinces of the country, he opined.
He said that it was not just the business and industrial community of Karachi city which faces water, electricity and gas crisis but the industrialists of Punjab and other provinces were also facing the same, which was mainly happening due to lack of proper system and the decisions were being imposed without considering the ground realities.
“There was a time when language, cast and provinces were never counted either during a democratically elected government or a dictator’s government, but unfortunately, language and provincial differences have surfaced nowadays, giving an impression that a divide has emerged which was not in favour of the country”, Siraj Teli cautioned.
Referring to gas load shedding being suffered by industrial units of Karachi, Siraj Teli pointed out that under the Constitution of Pakistan, the province from where resources like gas were being extracted has the first right to initially fulfill its local demand and then share the surplus resources with others. “But unfortunately, Sindh province, despite producing around 72 percent of the total gas, was not receiving gas as per its demand which was around 25 to 30 percent only, resulting in terribly affecting the performance of various industrial units”, he said, adding that the Constitution was neither followed by PPP government nor it was being followed by Nawaz government.
Siraj Teli said, “The present policies of the government were not in favour of industrialists of Sindh and even Punjab which the business and industrial community fails to understand.” He also requested the Minister to put pressure on federal government so that a system could be devised jointly by Ministry of Industries and Production, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and other relevant ministries in consultation with Karachi Chamber in order to facilitate the entire business and industrial community.
Earlier, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, in his welcome remarks, urged the federal government to devise a clear strategy which should focus on collectively dealing with numerous issues being suffered by the business and industrial community of Karachi while the business community should be taken on board prior to finalizing this strategy.
He also expressed deep concern over export sector’s lacklustre growth in Fiscal Year 2015, which has dropped to four year low at $23.88 billion, indicating a fall of 4.8 percent against $25.11 billion in FY14. “I fear that if situation goes on like this, the export may decline further by around 18 to 20 percent by end of 2016”, he added.
He was of the opinion that various initiatives were needed to improve quality and competitiveness of Pakistani exports. Issues including energy crisis, water and gas shortages along with rising cost of doing business should be resolved in consultation with KCCI which is the largest representative of the business and industrial community of Pakistan.
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