Rejecting the huge jump in electricity tariff for industry from Rs 9.18/KWH to Rs 14.82 under the new energy policy, the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) executive committee asks the government to generate revenue through new investments in energy sector by attracting oversees Pakistanis introducing better regulations as economy cannot grow in presence of energy crunch.
Addressing the executive committee meeting held here, APBF Chairman Nabeel Hashmi said access to energy is imperative to transform lives but it does not mean to increase power tariff up to 74 percent in one go, saying the move is likely to have serious repercussions on the economy and masses. He said the government’s move is against its manifesto of economic revival and poverty alleviation, adding that this step would raise products’ prices by at least 33 percent. He said average electricity tariff for industry in the region is below 10 cents against 14.4 cents in Pakistan, as power tariff cost in China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is 8.5 cents, 11.3 cents, 7.3 cents and 9.2 cents, respectively.
He said industries are already facing deteriorating law-and-order situation; complexity of taxes, and curtailed supply of gas and now the power tariff hike would further hit the exports and the revenue. Addressing the meeting APBF Central Vice President Imtiaz Rastgar suggested the government to evolve a mechanism to become more effective in facilitating investments in the country and for this purpose oversees Pakistanis should be given maximum incentives to win their trust. He said overseas Pakistanis are one of the biggest sources to boost economy of the country, adding that Overseas Chinese and Indians have made huge investment in their respective countries.
He said government failed to attract foreign investment particularly in energy sector, as the present process of approval of projects discourages investors. There is need to work on a one-window system where the investor can be provided with all necessary information and facilities.
“If government serves its overseas Pakistanis and take initiatives by providing them incentives then they can play a vital role in boosting Pakistan’s economy through their remittances and investments for the socio-economic prosperity of Pakistan,” he remarked. Imtiaz said such an unprecedented increase in electricity tariff is mounting the cost of production on account of electricity cost, interest rate and high labour cost due to comparatively lower productivity than that of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.