LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has urged the government to ensure adequate representation of private sector in all important bodies whether it is Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) or Indus River System Authority (Irsa).

LCCI president Malik Tahir Javaid said that being the major stakeholder of the country, business community should have representation in senate and all important bodies but it is not anywhere and being used as a money making machine. “How policies conducive for trade and industry can be formulated without participation of the main stakeholder”, the LCCI president questioned.

“Business community can be the most powerful economic force of the government but for this, present regime should take it on board and treat as partner”, Malik Tahir Javaid said.

He said that POL prices should not be an option to overcome the trade deficit or to bear the huge non-productive expenditure of the state. Likewise, water should not be sacrificed to the political will of a few selfish and disloyal elements. He said that Ogra raises the summary for increase in POL prices and generally government accepts the proposals. He said that POL is the major raw material and unjustified raises in its prices have increased the cost of doing business. He said that this issue can be controlled if business community has at least 50 per cent representation in Ogra.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that non-representation of private sector in water related bodies is also giving self-centered politicians to use water issue and most important projects like Kalabagh dam for vested interests. He said that water scarcity has become a severe threat for the entire system and country is in dire need of a big water reservoir like Kalabagh dam but it is being sacrificed to the political interests. He said that inclusion of business community in Irsa can break logjam on water issue between the provinces and can also pave way for construction of Kalabagh dam as business community has the abilities to get rid of the misunderstandings about this project. He said that India is working days and nights to steal Pakistan’s water and to turn this country into a horrible desert but our politicians are busy in blame-game.

“Kalabagh dam should be built at any cost and government should not listen to those who don’t care about dying people in Tharparkar and other parts of the country. No-one has the right to play havoc with the lives Pakistani people who are suffering due to water scarcity. Water is life and country cannot afford to throw the lives of over 200 million Pakistanis into the sea”, the LCCI president added and said that screaming on Kalabagh dam and mysterious silence on Indian water aggression is questionable.

He said that Kalabagh dam will store 6 million acre feet of water and will give benefit of $12 billion annually to the economy. He said that KBD will produce 3600MW or 31.5 billion watts of electricity that would cost only Rs2.50 per unit and country would be saving $ 4 billion annually in account of electricity generation just after 5 years of KBD construction.