FAISALABAD - Textile exporters have demanded the government to freeze the electricity tariff for six months and abolish the fuel adjustment surcharge as frequent tariff hikes and surcharges are affecting all the sectors of economy adversely.

The demands were raised by Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Rana Arif Tauseef during a meeting with Federal Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar.

The PTEA chief stressed that the government must shelve the decision regarding the hike in the power tariff for six months as a minimum of six months period was required to complete an export transaction.

Electricity rates in the country have already touched extreme heights and further increase will prove the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, he said. Trade and entire industrial sector has already been facing multiple internal and external challenges and constant increase in electricity prices has aggravating the economic crisis.

Because of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, a large number of industrial units have already shifted their operations to other countries. High power tariff, a burden on businesses and industry, could be reduced by utilizing the available water resources more efficiently as the water is the most viable and cheapest way to produce electricity, he suggested.

He also demanded that fuel adjustment formula should be revamped as it was very seriously impacting the trade and industry in a negative way as well as general masses.

Pakistani exports are losing buyers in the international market because of high cost of doing business and the decision to increase power tariff under monthly fuel adjustment system would make the Pakistani goods more uncompetitive.

He proposed to freeze electricity tariff after a 3% extra increase in electricity rates excluding fuel adjustment surcharges. He also demanded to reduce EQ surcharge to 2% as levied in other provinces and to charge MDI charges on actual basis and not for load shedding hours.

The PTEA chairman was concerned over a deteriorating electricity situation and strongly emphasized upon the government to give immediate attention to resolve the situation.

Ongoing electricity outages have created serious problems for industries that are already running for below the required level. Government has not taken serious measures to overcome the growing electricity shortfall, resulting in a slowdown of economic activity throughout Pakistan, he added.

He called upon the government to devise a proper mechanism instead of adopting shortcut solutions on day to day basis to meet the electricity demands.