ISLAMABAD                    -                Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed on Tuesday urged the government to reduce the price of electricity for promoting industrialisation, investment and exports. He said industrial development was essential to stabilise the fragile economy of Pakistan but the high cost of electricity was a major stumbling block in the way of business and industrial development. He said there was a need to reduce the electricity tariff in proportion to the reduction made in the prices of petroleum products.

Waheed said despite significant cut in Pakistan Oilfields Limited prices, the government has increased the price of furnace oil from Rs40,000 per metric tonnes to Rs 61,000 per metric tonnes within two months. He said most of the electricity in Pakistan was generated from furnace oil but it was strange that price of furnace oil has been further enhanced despite the record decline in oil prices in the global market.  He said the government has significantly reduced the price of kerosene but the kerosene was being sold in the market up to Rs140 per litre.

The ICCI President urged that the government to immediately investigate this matter. Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said due to COVID-19 pandemic, business and industrial activities in the country have been affected badly which has further weakened our fragile economy. He said that the best solution to overcome economic challenges was to promote industrial activities. “Reducing electricity price would reduce production cost, which will help boost business activities,” he said.

He said that the coronavirus has hit the whole world and big importers of our products were demanding discounts. However, it was impossible to give discounts to importers without reducing the production cost and this situation could lead to further fall in our exports. He said that the best way to cope with such challenges was to reduce cost of doing business and increase exports. He said these objectives could be achieved only by reducing the price of electricity. The ICCI President further said hydropower generation increased in the summer season so it was a good opportunity for the government to take advantage of this and reduce power tariffs. He said cheap electricity would bring multiple benefits to the economy as it would reduce cost of doing business, make our products more competitive in the global market, increase exports, reduce inflation and help in reviving the overall economy.