Lahore, May 09, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wednesday threatened the government to close down businesses if the government fails to control over 14 hours daily load shedding immediately by making payments to the IPPs.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was being forced by all the trade and industrial associations to give a call for indefinite strike as the energy shortage have crippled their businesses. He said that situation has turned so pathetic that neither the industrial units are working nor traders are doing any business because of the electricity shortage.
Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that law and order situation was also getting out of hands due to unemployment because of electricity shortage.
The LCCI President said that the government could easily overcome the circular debt issue if the electricity distribution is transferred to provinces.
He said that the transfer of electricity distribution to provinces would not only help recover outstanding dues but it would also streamline the electricity supply as more money would be available to the government for power generation. He said that the province that would not be able to recover dues would definitely be getting lesser electricity.
The LCCI President hoped that in the upcoming budget, the government would be announcing this decision as only because of electricity shortage the country lost 3 per cent of its GDP. Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the government would have to focus on investing in energy solutions in the forthcoming budget to achieve key economic targets set for the year 2012-13.
In order to tackle energy shortages, the LCCI president said, the government would have to allocate maximum funds for construction of dams/water reservoirs, tapping of Thar Coal, completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and establishment of LNG terminals.
The LCCI President said that sufficient funds should be allocated in the forthcoming budget for Dasu power project, Diamer Bhasha dam, Munda dam, Gomal Zam, Satpara power project and Kurram Tungi dam. He said that at least Rs. 200 billion or 10% of the total budget should be allocated for hydel power projects.
Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the country’s reliance on costly thermal power is jacking up the cost of production and import bill. The country needs an urgent shift in its energy-mix in favor of hydle power and local fuels. He said that the 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves with a price tag of $ 13 trillion in the international market, are enough to provide 100,000 MW of electricity for 100 years. Uninterrupted and affordable power supplies can turn Pakistan into an economic powerhouse.
The LCCI President also hoped that the government would earmark funds for the early completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and LNG terminals to keep the industrial wheel running especially in Punjab that has borne the brunt of recent suspension of gas supplies to industry in the country.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854