Karachi industries to shut down on Dec 4 over gas price hike
KARACHI: On Monday, December 4, industrialists in Pakistan economic hub put a complete stop to production in an effort to pressure the temporary government to reverse the historic increases in gas prices.
They calculate that the port city loses $47 million in exports every day.
Businessmen are calling for the government to quickly lower gas prices to Rs1,350 per mmBtu, as allowed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), from the current exorbitant tariffs of Rs2,100–2,600 per mmBtu. They have already put up protest posters at the offices of various trade associations.
At the third news conference conducted at the Site Association of Industry (SAI) on Thursday, which was attended by office-bearers of several industrial associations and the value-added textile sectors, numerous industrial entities made this announcement.
Businessmen Group Vice-Chairman Jawed Bilwani said that based on the country total exports of $9.6 billion during the July-October period, the cumulative per day exports stand at $79m in which the share of Karachi is 60pc or $47m per day.
He said that the unacceptable increase in gas costs, which has made it hard to keep factories operating, has greatly upset all of the trade associations from Sindh and Balochistan.
Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Balochistan along with Nooriabad and Kotri chambers have also joined our protest and assured to fully endorse all the strategies adopted by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to deal with the situation, he said.
According to him, the business community is asking with the government to lower the gas pricing to Rs1,350 per mmBtu, which Ogra has calculated to be the cost of gas plus about 22% profit for SSGCL.
According to him, the cross-subsidy that the new gas tariff has placed on the businesses is a result of unfair and unworthy support given to the home, power, and fertiliser sectors.
Since the current tariff has outpaced the costs of manufacturing, SAI President Muhammad Kamran Arbi encouraged the government to convene a meeting with industry players to determine a consensus on the gas price.
The SAI president stated that the business community is still awaiting the promised winter package for incremental electricity consumption, which called for providing power at a discounted cost of Rs20 per unit on incremental use during four winter months.
Altaf A. Ghaffar, Senior Vice-President of KCCI, stated that the high cost of manufacturing was already having a negative impact on Karachi industries. In order to lower the gas tariff to a level that is acceptable, the government must immediately reverse the increase in price.