KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, while expressing sheer dismay over complete suspension of gas supplies for two days a week to industries in Karachi, appealed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister of State for Energy Musadik Malik to take notice of this unfair treatment by SSGC which has nowadays resorted to suspending gas supply for two days, causing grave losses to industries as the production activities have gone down by 30 percent due to complete gas suspension for two days every week.

In a statement issued, President KCCI stressed that the government must urgently respond to the miseries being suffered by Karachi’s industrialists due to unavailability of gas, otherwise, if such alarming situation continues, the country would not be able to come out of economic crises particularly when the industrial units, including general as well as export-oriented industries, were underperforming in terms of production. “The federal government must save its repute by ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to industries at any cost as the poor gas supply situation is not only aggravating miseries for business community but is also denting government’s efforts to ensure ease of doing business”, he added.

He was of the view that depriving Karachi from Gas/ RLNG was beyond our understanding as nobody was taking Karachi’s matchless role into consideration which, being the textile and industrial hub of Pakistan, alone contributes 68 percent revenue to the national exchequer and 54 percent to national exports while 52 percent of textile exports also take place from Karachi.

“Karachi continues to undergo discrimination that has led to causing severe production losses of more than 30 percent a week due to reduced or no supply of gas. The inequitable conduct and discriminatory treatment with the largest city were totally intolerable and highly deplorable”, he said while fearing that the discriminatory actions/ policy towards Karachi will not only cause the industry to cripple but would also tarnish the vision of Prime Minister.

President KCCI said that the Sindh province has been producing around 68 to 70 percent of the country’s gas but it was really unfortunate that the industries in Karachi remain deprived of gas which was purely against the Article 158 of Pakistan’s constitution which categorically states that the province has the first right to the gas produced in the province.

He also demanded that first priority in respect of gas supply must be given to industries of Karachi which contribute more than 54 percent to national exports, provide highest urban employment and generate highest taxes for the Government, besides being the highest subsidy provider. “Instead of prioritizing gas to domestic sector, uninterrupted gas supply at adequate pressure to industries must be given throughout the week on top priority whereas the domestic sector should be provided gas via bousers/ cylinders or at least they should be charged full gas price as applicable to other sectors. Where in the world the residential consumers are treated on top priority, he questioned, adding that natural gas should be provided on economic considerations to compete in the world.

Keeping in view the present government’s resolve to create an enabling business environment and pull the economy out of crises, Tariq Yousuf hoped that the decision makers would urgently pay attention to the gas load shedding issue which has to be addressed at any cost so that the production activities as well as the exports could start picking up pace.