SNGPL authorities urged to entertain court orders

Lahore, August 24, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the SNGPL authorities to entertain stay orders issued against increase in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess.

A large number of businessmen Friday called on LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh again and informed him that the SNGPL authorities were intentionally making mockery of the High Court orders issued against the increase in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess and thus creating troubles for the businessmen who were already facing multiple internal and external challenges.

They informed the LCCI President that instead of entertaining the high court orders against unilateral and unjustified increase in Cess, the authorities were telling the complainants that they had already written letter to the Ministry over the issue and waiting for a reply.

The LCCI President said that all institutions should obey the judiciary orders in letter and spirit for the rule of law in the country and if the SNGPL authorities are flouting the court orders they are actually committing the contempt of court.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh was of the view that the SNGPL authorities should not create troubles for the business community and let the courts decide the matter. By disobeying the courts, the SNGPL authorities are sending a very wrong signal to the common man.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had made around 15 per cent increase in gas tariff without any prior notice to the industry and put this raise in the last month’s gas bills. And resultantly the industry people moved court

The LCCI President said that the raise incorporated in the industrial gas bills for the month of July has created multiple problems for the industrialists as the authorities kept them in the darkness about the hike and resultantly they could not include it into their cost.

The LCCI President said that when the government functionaries or Ministers visit Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they always vow to take the private sector on board on all future decisions but it is very unfortunate this time they did not bother to consult the LCCI or any other sector-specific association while jacking up the gas tariff.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the impact of this increase would be much bigger than the expectation of the government who should avoid any such decision keeping in view the economic scenario in the country.

The LCCI President said that Rs 100 MMBTU increase in the gas tariff will put extra burden on cash starved industry therefore the OGRA authorities should immediately withdraw this raise.

The LCCI President said that if the OGRA authorities fail to take this back, there are a number of associations who would be moving court against this unilateral decision.

“By making such decisions, the OGRA is not doing any service to the industry but actually the people are opening up gate for litigation.”

He said that at a time when all the governments in the world were facilitating their respective private sectors, the situation in Pakistan is the other way round and various government departments were tightening noose around the private sector.

While quoting the example of textile sector, the LCCI President said that it is one of the most value-added and export-oriented sectors in Pakistan which accounts for more than 60 percent of total exports of the country. 95 per cent of its inputs are locally produced and by making energy out of their reach, government is in fact curbing the use of local inputs.”

He said that even the slightest raise in the cost of production, at this critical juncture, would, therefore, spell doom and oust Pakistani merchandise from the international export market which would deprive the exchequer of much-needed valuable foreign exchange to the tune of billions of dollars.

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

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