(March 25, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that Sui northern gas company and sui southern gas company have filed a petition for increasing gas tariff. SNGL has proposed 144 percent while SSGC has proposed 106 percent tariff hike, which will severely increase the cost of doing business in the Country affecting public and industrialist equally.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that gas prices are reviewed bi-annually, but due to election in the previous, gas tariff was reviewed and increased effective from September 27, which result the maximum tariff hike for domestic consumers by 143 percent resultant in bill of Rs. 1710 who used to receive Rs. 600 bill previously. Constant increase in gas price has affected the consumers in a very adverse manner. In 2009 the consumers utilizing 400 cubic meter gas used to receive bill of Rs. 5534 which has now increased to 24100 while consumers of 500 cubic meter gas who used to receive Rs. 8850 monthly bill has now reached Rs. 30100. OGRA has originally proposed 30 percent hike for domestic consumers while 186 percent hike for industrial, power and commercial sectors. The proposed hike will directly affect various sectors directly.
The Former Minister said that annual gas theft is estimated to Rs. 50 billion annually while line losses of SNGPL and SSGS have accumulated to around Rs. 25 – 30 billion. It is important to focus those areas and get the consumers relief in terms of saving them from transferring the burden of theft and lost gas due to mismanagement. The gas thieves should be punished in accordance to the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s instructions.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that further increase in gas tariff will burden the already suffering industries of the Country. It is required to reduce cost of doing business and provide ease in doing business to make the investment outlook of the Country better. If concrete measures in this regard are not taken, the industrial outlook will suffer more.
Government should take measures to improve the investment outlook in order to improve FDI as per directions of the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Increase in cost of doing business will adversely affect the investment and industrialization. Facilitation should be extended to investors and industrialists so that they can achieve their targets with profitability.