KARACHI - KCCI’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar has expressed deep concern over hike in power tariffs of 56 per cent for industrial, 33 per cent for commercial and 15 per cent for residential consumers and termed this decision as “penalty on honest consumers for dishonesty of others”.

In a statement, he lamented government has tried to find a short cut solution for circular debt as average cost of power production in Pakistan is around Rs.14/15 and the tariff was between Rs.10/11.

There was a gap of Rs.4 and this gap needed to be bridged due to the inefficiency of government to control power theft. Primarily this difference is because of theft and pilferage of electricity that simply means that instead of apprehending the culprits who are involved in steeling electricity, the Government of Pakistan has given up or has shown its inability in reducing the electricity theft but very surprisingly the Government has decided to increase electricity tariffs instead of controlling the electricity theft to meet both ends while the unscrupulous elements will be at liberty to continue stealing electricity.

Haroon Agar cautioned that the decision would severely harm the economy. He said that on one side government is contemplating to increase targets for nominal growth and on the other side its harsh decisions to increase utilities and POL prices, in the presence of gas and power outages and criminal activities, are posing as detrimental threats for achieving the said target.

Chamber’s chief also warned that the nasty situation in Karachi, arising out due to deteriorating law and order situation, exorbitant increase in utilities and petroleum prices will inflict colossal financial losses, would widen the trade deficit leading to collapse in commitment to export orders, flight of capital, huge labour layoffs, and worsening of law and order situation and decline in the revenue of the government.

He stated that the heavy taxed fuel and utilities will hit the entire economy, affect the masses as well as the industrial and commercial activities. In the wake of anti-business policies of the previous government, many industries had already shifted to other countries and many are planning to do so. He stated that the present state of affairs demand to incentivise the trade and industry rather penalize as the business and industrial community is already burdened with the multiplicity of taxes and facing increased cost of manufacturing due to expensive inputs.