PPI Original Text (PPI-OT) – Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry concerned over government’s least interest in solving the issue of prolonged load shedding

Lahore, May 28, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed deep concern over the government’s least interest in solving the issue of prolonged load shedding damaging the domestic, commercial and industrial users alike and urged to take solid and serious measures for resolving this crisis causing severe dent to the national economy.

Speaking at a function here, the LCCI Chief Irfan Qaiser Sheikh that the present government and its officers never get tired of talking about private sector’s being the engine of growth and increases revenue targets ambitiously every year. Nevertheless, the government remained fail in its tenure to provide an enable environment to the private sector which could help it generate more revenues for the government, earn profitability and create job opportunities for the youth of the country.

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 people sitting on the helm of the affairs are playing the role of silent spectators.

The LCCI President5 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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