Perturbed people especially industrialists and traders of Sialkot expressed grave concerns over 16 to 18 hours power outages daily in the district.

Sialkot is the native city of Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the federal minister for defence, water and power. The unending loadshedding of electricity has badly hampered the industrial production in the factories besides paralysing all the civic and business activities.

The perturbed people said that they had been facing 16 to 18 hours loadshedding of electricity in urban parts of Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasrur, Badiana, Chawinda and surrounding areas, while the duration of the power outages had already increased to 20 hours in rural parts of the Sialkot district.

They urged the federal government to look into the nasty matter for giving maximum relief to Sialkot based traders, industrialists and exporters by reducing the duration of loadshedding.

On the other side, the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) expressed grave concern over the proposal to impose 5 percent sales tax on electricity and gas consumed by textile, surgical, carpet, sports and leather sectors.

SCCI President Fazal Jillani said that the step would add the ordeal being faced by the export industry. He added that 5 percent increase in the utilities would add to the cost of production making the exports uncompetitive at the international markets.

He added that Sialkot exporters were already suffering great financial losses due to devaluation of US Dollar against Pak rupee, which had made it very hard for the Sialkot exporters to compete in the international markets. He further added that electricity and gas shortage has constantly been the most adverse factors, immensely disturbing the industrial sector.

The SCCI president said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had set a target for growth in exports by providing maximum facilities and trade and export-related incentives to the exporters and ensuring the early provision of the conducive business environment.

He said, on the other hand, the proposals were being considered to put extra burden on the exporters. He urged the government not to accept such proposals, urging PM Nawaz Sharif to intervene and block any such attempt that may damage exports.