FAISALABAD

Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Mian Zahid Aslam expressed grave concern over up to 20-hour unscheduled loadshedding which has crippled industries and the people’s lives, warning that the national economy was fast heading towards the point of no return due to outages.

He threatened that the city would be closed for all economic and commercial activities if the situation does not improve within the next four days. He said that the energy crisis had hit the economy hard reducing the GDP growth of the country to about 3 percent per annum.

He said that the basic problem was not the generation capacity but the mismanagement in the power sector. He said that the circular debt increased to Rs537 billion in 2012 from Rs144 billion in 2008, reflecting an increase of 272% during the last five years due to the previous government’s inability to tackle the problem.

He said that the severe, forced and unscheduled loadshedding has halted the industrial production resulting in delay in export shipment as well as failure to meet the domestic demand for textile with the beginning of summer season.

He said that the prolonged outages have not only halted the industrial production in the area but also created shortage of potable water and water for other use. He lamented that the electricity outages have not been overcome by the caretaker government too despite their tall claims of according priority to the issue.

He said that these outages have made the domestic and social life miserable affecting the general health of the people as they do not have the desired sleep to afresh them for the next day. He said that the working hours in the industries have already been considerably reduced and the unemployment will cause lawlessness and the government would not be able to face the unemployment flood to be caused due to this situation.

He said that Faisalabad is an economic and industrial hub of the country and its economy is supplemented by small and medium enterprises where hundreds of thousands of workers earn their livelihood on daily basis. Electricity outages have made the workers jobless, he added.

He said that the caretaker government should come up with immediate steps for uninterrupted supply of electricity to the industries as it is causing huge financial loss to the businesses, trade and industry in the area. He maintained that textile sector in Faisalabad has the potential to enhance export earnings for the country to a greater extent and invested in the near past on adopting modernization of equipment and machinery but all investment has gone waste due to this unscheduled and forced loadshedding of electricity.

He said that the economy was fast heading towards the point of no return and the authorities concerned were reluctant to take all the stakeholders into confidence on the energy situation. He urged the government to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to the industries in Faisalabad before the situation is out of control.