ISLAMABAD - Business community Tuesday strongly opposed the governments decision to increase the power tariff by 12 percent and natural gas tariff by 26 percent from January 2010. Zahid Maqbool, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called on Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Shaukat Tarin and urged him to take business community on board before considering any increase in power tariff, as this would destroy the growth of industries and put unbearable burden on common man. He said such shortcuts would cripple the business activities in the country, adding other viable options could be explored with mutual efforts to improve countrys revenue generation capacity. While addressing the meeting of business community, Zahid Maqbool said that 26 percent increase in natural gas tariff from January 01, 2010 would have drastic impact on industrial sector apart from adding miseries of consumers who were already overburdened. He said that dollar had depreciated in the international market, oil prices had stabilised, interest rate and inflation had come down and in wake of these indicators, there was no justification to increase the gas tariff. He said utility tariffs in Pakistan were already the highest in the region putting the country at a great disadvantage in exports against its regional competitors while the proposed electricity & gas tariff hike would almost push Pakistan out of competition. He said the recent Trade Policy had targeted six percent growth in exports while the last four months trading trend had shown 9 percent fall in exports. He questioned how the government would achieve export targets by making power more costly, which was a key input in production activities. He stressed upon the government to work out long-term strategies for energy solution & revenue generation instead of resorting to unwise shortcuts that would have long-lasting negative impact on overall economy.