LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned the government of massive lay-offs and industrial closures if it fails to immediately stop 8 to 10-hour power outages in the industrial areas.

The LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh was talking to the office-bearers of Trade Industrial Associations called on him at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

Business leaders from a number of trade and industrial associations, including Lahore Township Industrial Association, Ferozepur Road Industrial Association, Katarbund Road Industrial Association, Kahna Kacha Industrial Association, Anjuman-e-Tajiran Pakistan, Qoumi Tajir Ittehad, Anjuman-e-Tajran Badami Bagh Auto Market, Township Traders Association, Pakistan Auto Parts Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Anjuman-e-Tajran Urdu Bazar, Brandreth Road Traders Association were prominent among the participants who had a hour-long meeting with the LCCI President.

After listening to their point of view, Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that government would not be able to control the situation triggered by the demonstrations and strikes called by the angry industrial workers against their retrenchments as a result of these power outages.

“How the government would establish its writ and from where it would collect revenues to run its day-to-day affairs when the industrial wheel is coming to a grinding halt.”

The LCCI president urged the government to allocate funds in the forthcoming budget for new power projects and construction of dams to generate cheap and sufficient electricity.

The LCCI President said that the government should understand that economic well being is a must for democracy. Unemployment, price-hikes, industrial closures always give birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the industry needs a continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports are not up to the mark.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that Pakistan had already lost a number of international markets and the new longer hour power cuts would further aggravate the situation.

The LCCI President said that cheaper and uninterrupted power supply is only way to achieve economic targets set for the year 2012 but neither the government is sharing its future plans to this regard nor paying any heed to the difficulties being faced by the trade and industry.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that it is astonishing that on the one hand the government circles were talking of economic stability in 2012 while on the other hand they were not sharing any kind of roadmap to achieve this goal.