KARACHI: The industrialists of the North Karachi Industrial Area, which is the largest industrial area in Sindh in terms of SMEs and the second-largest after Sialkot, have vehemently protested against the recent hike in electricity rates, demanding a reversal of the recent electricity rate hike, warned that if their demand is not met, they will initiate full-fledged protests, also shut down their industries and also surrender the keys to the government.

In an appeal, Faisal Moiz Khan, President North Karachi Association of Trade & Industry (NKATI), requested to Chief of Army Staff. General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M), Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, Minister for Energy, Power & Petroleum Muhammad Ali and Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Sindh Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar to play their important role in reversing power tariff hike for saving industries, especially small & medium enterprises (SMEs) from destruction. Otherwise, the shutdown of industries, SMEs, will not only result in highly negative effects on exports but also lead to a flood of unemployment that will be difficult to control.

NKATI President further said that if the achievements of developed countries in the world are observed, the important role of SMEs will become apparent. However, unfortunately, in our country, SMEs are being badly neglected.

“Due to high cost, production activities have already been restricted and industries have become extremely difficult to run while SMEs have been forced to close their units. Rather, it wouldn’t be unjustified to say that small-scale industrialists are almost dead.”

He was of the view that the recent hike in electricity tariff will devastate industries, especially SMEs, as expensive electricity and gas have severely impacted production activities of major industries including SMEs. The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that 35 percent of SMEs units have been closed, resulting in thousands of people becoming unemployed.

Faisal Moiz Khan urged the caretaker government to formulate such policies instead of anti-business and industry policies, which will create ease in doing business and running industries and create maximum employment opportunities.

He also requested for a specific policy for SMEs, in which a special electricity tariff with subsidy should be given so that like the developed countries of the world, Pakistan can also walk on the road of development.

Faisal expressed concern that if the caretaker government does not take measures to steer the country away from severe economic crises and to save SMEs from destruction, we might find trapped in a whirlpool from which returning may become nearly impossible.