LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has thumping applauded government’s epoch-making decisions to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and use Thar coal for generating power to overcome electricity and gas shortage in the country.In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the private sector welcomed the decision of the government for laying foundation of a sound energy policy and hoped that it would go a long way in mitigating the energy-related issues.The LCCI President said that the country has valuable coal reserves worth much more than the available oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran put together. Thar Coal Fields are estimated to have reserves of 175 billion tons, 68 times greater than the country’s total gas reserves that can produce 100,000 MW of cheap electricity annually for over 200 years but at present only one per cent of coal is being used for power generation declining from 2pc in 2006. He said it was very unfortunate that the country had been suffering from unprecedented power shortage for the last many years thus badly affecting the GDP growth in the country and lowering overall productions considerably.The LCCI President said that energy shortage has pushed up the cost of doing business by at least 15 percent whereas margin of many sectors have come down substantially. The present circumstances have made it difficult for the businessmen to even bear their fixed expenses.