FAISALABAD - Iran-Pakistan (IP) Gas pipeline is very crucial for economic growth of the country and the government need not to accept any pressure, said Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President Mian Zahid Aslam here on Saturday.

He appreciated the signing of the project and hoped that the gas shortage would be overcome to a greater extent with the commencement of supplies as planned. Quoting on future shortage of gas, he said that Pakistan would face shortfall of gas to 1445 mmcfd in the year 2013-14 against demand of 3638 mmcfd. There would be increased shortfall of 1872 mmcfd in 2014-15.

He said that IP Gas Pipeline would usher in new prospects of investment opportunities and closer economic ties in the area.  He continued that Pakistan should take benefit of the gas resources available with Iran to meet its energy needs and overcome the looming energy crisis.

The FCCI president said that natural gas is the basic raw material in use by the industries and clean fuel for domestic needs and there is no alternative fuel available of comparative cost. He said that GDP growth of the economy has lowered down to the extent of 2-3 percent per annum owing to the severe shortage of gas and electricity retarding the industrial and business activities in the country.

The chamber chief further said that the industrial sector particularly the textile sector which is the largest contributor in the national exports and the largest provider of employment in the country needs special attention of the Government. He urged that SRO culture needed to be discouraged as it is hampering the industrial and business activities badly. Frequent Issuance of SROs by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is never acceptable as it deteriorates the industrial planning and production cost unfeasible.

He urged the Government to withdraw SRO 154(1)/2013 and SRO 98(1)2013 immediately as these SROs have been issued without consultation with the business community  The business community is completely in a fix with the issuance of such SROs causing seriously to choke the industrial and business activities particularly for textile sector.