January 1, 2020: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while expressing dismay over serious gas crises being suffered by the industries situated in all industrial zones in Karachi, stressed that the gas being produced in Sindh must at first be provided to its inhabitants and industries whereas only surplus gas should be forwarded to other provinces as per Article 158 of Pakistan’s Constitution.
In a statement issued, Agha Shahab stated that RLNG, which was being imported to overcome gas shortages, must be provided to those provinces who either have zero gas production or were not producing sufficient amount of gas as per their requirement whereas, the Sindh province, which is blessed with abundant gas resources, must get gas from its own reserves.
Why the consumers in Sindh are being compelled to take RLNG, when the province has sufficient gas reserves to surmount its local demand, he asked, adding that ‘it is totally contrary to the Constitution.’
President KCCI said that gas pressure has been reducing purposely to pressurize the industries to take RLNG, which has resulted in terribly affecting the overall production and was causing severe losses of up to billions of rupees. “Gas resources in Sindh are largely being mismanaged that has led to creating severe crises not only in Sindh but also in Punjab and the rest of the country. None of the provinces were getting the required gas due to the said mismanagement. If gas resources are distributed exactly as per Article 158, there will not be any crises in Sindh and Karachi, which is the hub of economic & industrial activities while the rest of the country must get RLNG which has to be promptly imported.”
“We, the business & industrial community of Karachi, are already suffering badly because of high cost of doing business therefore the suspension of gas in Karachi would not only prove detrimental for the industry but would also lead to worsening the economic crises, besides raising poverty and unemployment”, he opined.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks in which the business community was urged to set up industries and factories as 2020 is going to be a year of growth, Agha Shahab said that under the prevailing circumstances when the existing industries were confronted with severe gas crises, high electricity rates, exorbitant interest rates, devaluing rupee against dollar, rising petroleum prices, lack of infrastructure and other serious civic issues, how could anyone think of setting up industries or go for expansion. “In order to actually make 2020 a year of growth, the government will have to resolve all these issues on top priority otherwise there will be no growth at all and the economic performance would continue to remain depressed or it may even worsen further”, he added.