LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry again on Tuesday urged the government to stop repeated increase in electricity prices and ensure equal supply of throughout the country as the province of Punjab is the worst hit by the electricity shortage and only last year it lost three per cent of its GDP due to power crisis.

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that due to longer hour power cuts the investment scenario has spoiled in the province and so much so existing industrial units have curtailed their productions.

The LCCI President said despite a consensus decision at the Energy Conference held on April 9th 2012 and a pledge by for equal load shedding across Pakistan, the electricity consumers especially the province of Punjab continue to suffer from unjust and prolonged load shedding. He said that the acute electricity and gas shortage has not only crippled the trade and industry but has also brought widespread unemployment and poverty.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the consumers of the efficient distribution companies with lowest line losses and the highest recovery ratio are being treated unfairly.

The LCCI President said it was very unfortunate that loadshedding in Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore is 10 to 18 hours while in Hyderabad 4 to 8 hours, Karachi 2 hours, Nawab Shah 6 to 8 hours, Peshawar 6 to 10 hours, Quetta 4 to 8 hours, Rawalpindi 8 to 14 hours and Sukkur 6 to 8 hours. They said that the recovery of the bills in Faisalabad is 99.8 per cent, Gujranwala 98.8 per cent, Lahore 98.1 per cent while in Hyderabad it is 59.1 per cent, Karachi 85.6 per cent, Peshawar 78.4 per cent, Quetta 41 per cent.

They said that the line losses in Peshawar are 35 per cent, in Hyderabad 34 per cent, Quetta 18 per cent, Lahore 13 per cent, Gujranwala 12 per cent, Faisalabad 11 per cent and Islamabad 10 per cent.

He said that Punjab contributes nearly two thirds to the GDP of Pakistan. Punjab pays for 80 per cent of electricity bills and gets only 60 per cent of electricity units. Yet Punjab is being made the worst victim of injustice.

He said the Energy Conference 2012 had pledged to reduce and equalize load shedding throughout the country, yet the situation has not improved. He said that awful prolonged load shedding was hitting all sectors of economy including trade, industry and agriculture. The LCCI president said the private sector was engine of the growth and in the developed countries it is facilitated to the maximum but in Pakistan circumstances are the other way round.