February 4, 2020: President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has strongly criticized the move to increase gas prices and urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately stop the implementation of the proposal.
He said that the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum would seriously affect the industrial sector, especially exporters and value-added sector would be hit hard.
President FPCCI has expressed his apprehension that accelerated gas prices will also affect the cost of energy as well as the cost of production of exportable goods. It will also hamper the competitiveness of the industry in International market, where industry is already facing severe problem on different fronts.
He further added that this hike will increase the misery of the common people who are already facing 14.6 per cent headline inflationary pressures and lower purchasing power due to dollar Rupee parity as well as the commercial and industrial consumer would not be able to absorb it. Gas prices have already increased 31 percent last year. Earlier OGRA proposed 214 percent hike in gas prices however; the ECC had deferred the proposal to increase the gas prices during the last meeting.
The President also stated that the economy of Pakistan is not in a position to absorb such sudden and large shocks. Pakistan’s exports are not expanding and are still below targets. At this stage increase in energy cost will definitely further destabilize economic environment which is already under pressure. Pakistan need to maintain price stability particularly for manufacturing and export- oriented sector so that economy remain on track for which present government is struggling hard.
He strongly urged the government to withdraw the proposal of the increase in Gas tariff otherwise; industry will face closing down which will ultimately result in unemployment and labour unrest.