Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges govt to withdraw power cuts exemption given to Very Important Persons’ grid stations

Lahore, August 01, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry while expressing deep concern over awful prolonged load shedding, has demanded of the government to withdraw immediately the exemption of load shedding being enjoyed by VIP grid stations other than hospitals and sensitive installations.

“The govt. would not be able to control loadshedding unless and until the exemption given to the VIP entities is withdrawn. We are not talking of hospitals and sensitive installations.”

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that how the people sitting on the helm of affairs and bureaucracy could feel gravity of the situation when they are enjoying uninterrupted electricity supply through these VIP grid stations. “They will work on war footing to enhance the power generation when they will face 14 to 18 hours loadshedding in a day”, he added.

The LCCI President said that government has not shown any seriousness in solving the unprecedented energy crisis that has forced the fasting people to take to the streets to draw the attention of the President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister and the Ministers towards this pathetic situation.

“It should be an eye-opener for the government that not only the opposition, but allies are also registering their protest against loadshedding in National Assembly and Senate”, Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said.

He said that the private sector was engine of the growth and in the developed countries it is facilitated to the maximum but in Pakistan circumstances is quite different.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that LCCI has repeatedly warned the government of massive lay-offs and industrial closures if it fails to immediately stop power outages but the government has miserably failed to control the situation.

The LCCI President said that government would not be able to control the situation triggered by the demonstrations and strikes called by the angry industrial workers against their retrenchments as a result of these power outages.

“How the government would establish its writ and from where it would collect revenues to run its day-to-day affairs when the industrial wheel is coming to a grinding halt.”

The LCCI President said that the government should understand that economic well being is a must for democracy. Unemployment, price-hikes, industrial closures always gives birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the industry needs continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports are not up to the mark.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that Pakistan had already lost a number of global markets and the new power cuts would further aggravate the situation.

The LCCI President said that cheaper and uninterrupted power supply is only way to achieve economic targets set for the year 2012-13 but neither the government is sharing its future plans to this regard nor paying any heed to the difficulties being faced by the trade and industry.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that it is astonishing that on the one hand the government circles were talking of economic stability in 2012 while on the other hand they were not sharing any kind of roadmap to achieve this goal.

The LCCI President also feared a surge in street crimes, saying that law and order situation is bound to aggravate in the coming days as repeated power outages in the industrial estates is jacking up the graph of unemployment particularly hitting the daily wagers hard.

He said that the most of industrial units had already reduced their working to single six-hour shift from the previous three shifts system. This had led to increased level of raw-material wastage leaving production process non-profitable.

Now the leading industrial units were experiencing losses despite being managed professionally.

The crisis in industrial sector is not only causing flight of capital and relocation of industrial units to the countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia but had also reduced government revenues drastically.

He said that a similar situation had erupted about two years ago but that was resolved with the help of the business community who lent a lot of input in developing a viable load management plan.

The LCCI President urged the President and Prime Minister to take notice of this grave situation and act promptly to save industrial and social fabric of the country.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

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