Lahore - The business community Saturday rejected the proposed increase in gas tariff saying that it would add to the miseries of industrial sector and would also turn Pakistani products uncompetitive in the global market.

LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz urged the government to give due representation to the private sector in the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to make it an efficient department. At present, he said, all decision are being made without keeping in view the ground realities.

LCCI President said that increase in gas tariff would jack-up cost of doing business manifold and oust the export-oriented industries from the international export market where Pakistani products already facing hard competition.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that such anti-business acts would hamper the growth of manufacturing sector.

He said that the proposed raise in the gas tariff would create multiple problems for the industrialists as they have to bear heavy loss while fulfilling their export commitments.

He said that the government machinery always vow to take the private sector on board but they do not bother to consult LCCI or any other sector-specific association while making the decisions like hike in gas or electricity tariff.

LCCI President said that the impact of reported increase from July 01 would be much bigger than the expectation of the government who should avoid any such decision keeping in view the economic scenario in the country.

“Increase in the gas tariff will put extra burden on cash starved industry therefore the OGRA authorities should avoid to take such initiatives. By making such decisions, the OGRA would not be doing any service to the industry but actually they are widening the gap between the private sector and government.”

He said that at a time when all the governments in the world were facilitating their respective private sectors, the situation in Pakistan is the other way round and various government departments were tightening noose around the private sector.

While quoting the example of textile sector, the LCCI President said that it is one of the most value-added and export-oriented sectors in Pakistan which accounts for more than 60 percent of total exports of the country. 95 per cent of its inputs are locally produced and by making energy out of their reach, government is in fact curbing the use of local inputs.”

He said that even the slightest raise in the cost of production, at this critical juncture, would, therefore, spell doom and oust Pakistani merchandise from the international export market which would deprive the exchequer of much-needed valuable foreign exchange to the tune of billions of dollars.