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ICCI Strongly Condemns Significant Gas Price Increase as a Severe Blow to the Industry

Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), expressed deep concern about the government’s unprecedented increases in fixed monthly charges, reaching up to 3900 percent, and consumer rates for gas, which could result in a significant surge in inflation for the general public and pose a substantial threat to the industrial sector, potentially leading to the closure of numerous businesses nationwide. Bakhtawari made these remarks while presiding over an ICCI Executive Body meeting at Chamber House.

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He emphasized that Pakistan’s economy is still grappling with recovery, and it is crucial for the government to prioritize affordable energy tariffs for businesses and industries in order to stimulate economic growth. Rather than fostering an environment conducive to business operations, the recent substantial hikes in electricity and gas tariffs in Pakistan have inflated the cost of doing business, rendering our exports less competitive in the global market. Bakhtawari noted that the government is transferring the burden of the poor performance and financial losses of electricity and gas companies to end consumers by raising tariffs, a strategy he deemed as inappropriate. He stressed the need for the government to address the inefficiencies within these utility companies and rectify their operational shortcomings to enhance their overall efficiency, instead of resorting to tariff increases.

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The President of ICCI voiced concerns over the existing unjustified electricity price hikes that led to public protests in August this year. He highlighted that the unprecedented increase in gas tariffs would further worsen the lives of citizens and have a detrimental impact on business and investment activities within the country. He called upon the government to reconsider the gas price increments in order to alleviate the burdens on both the people and businesses.

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Faad Waheed, the Senior Vice President of ICCI, emphasized that gas serves as a critical input for various industrial manufacturing processes. The recent surge in gas prices is expected to result in the closure of numerous industries, further weakening the nation’s economy. He underlined the necessity for Pakistan to promote industrialization to bolster the economy, expressing concern that such decisions could lead to deindustrialization and significant economic damage.

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Engr. Azhar ul Islam Zafar, Vice President of ICCI, pointed out that electricity and gas prices in Pakistan are among the highest in the region, making it challenging for the private sector to compete effectively in the global market. He urged the government to engage in discussions with stakeholders to revise electricity and gas prices, making them more affordable for all consumers.

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