PBIF calls for reduced power tariff. Cheap energy to promote production, employment and exports. Policy of high oil, electricity price questioned.

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(April 24, 2020)

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said oil prices have receded a lot therefore government should reduce the price of oil and tariff of electricity.

Cheap energy will promote production, exports and employment which can arrest fall in the GDP to some extent, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that oil prices are not rebounding despite the best efforts of the oil producing countries which should be considered as a gift in the oil-importing countries.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader reduction in fuel and power prices will benefit people facing hardships and loss of income amid lockdown.

The former minister noted that the oil import bill was a major drag on forex reserves but now the situation has changed which is improving the balance of payment.

The current account has been reduced by 73 percent during the nine months. It is now 2.768 billion dollars while it was recorded at $10.284 billion a year ago.

Earlier the current account deficit for the whole year was estimated to be six billion dollars but now it can be trimmed to 4.5 billion dollars which was twenty billion dollars in 2018, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the policy of filling exchequer by keeping electricity and oil price high is flawed as it will benefit few while reduction in prices will benefit the entire population.

He noted that there is no justification in keeping power tariff highest in the region as remittances has been projected to fall by 23 percent.

He called for long-term oil deals and improved storage capacity enabling the country to meet supply shocks and unforeseen problems.

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