LAHORE - Economic growth is directly linked with energy, therefore government should take every possible initiative to ensure cheaper and sufficient electricity for the manufacturing sector to achieve the desired economic goals.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Senior Vice President Almas Haider and Vice President Nasir Saeed stated this, while speaking at the meeting of LCCI Executive Committee here on Tuesday.

They said that power outages had become a bigger threat to the growth of manufacturing sector that is the base of economic structure of the country, adding that business community does not have any doubts about the seriousness of present regime in resolving the energy crisis as it has already started a number of power projects but there was a dire need of their completion in the shortest possible time as an acute shortage of electricity is hitting the economic activities hard.

Sheikh Arshad said, timely completion of hydropower projects was vital for mitigating water and power shortfall. Due to longer hour power cuts the investment scenario is being spoiled in the country and so much so existing industrial units have curtailed their productions, he mentioned.

He said the government should exploit all available options to stop unscheduled power cuts which are hitting the economic activities hard and power outages in the industrial areas are jacking up the graph of unemployment particularly hitting the daily wagers hard.

The LCCI President said, the most of industrial units had already reduced their working hours. This had led to increased level of raw-material wastage and making production process non-profitable.

Now the leading industrial units were experiencing losses despite being managed professionally.

Sheikh Arshad said the shortage of electricity had already caused flight of capital and relocation of industrial units to the countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia besides reducing government revenues drastically. The government, he asserted, should share its energy plan with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Unemployment and industrial closures always give birth to lawlessness and anarchy, therefore, the government should speed up its efforts for power generation.

LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Haider said the private sector was engine of the growth and in the developed countries it is facilitated to the maximum and Pakistan also needed to focus on this vital sector to save industrial and social fabric of the country. He also urged the government to complete water and hydropower projects in the shortest possible as the energy demand is growing with every passing day.

He said that promotion of alternate energy resources would definitely curtail the burden from conventional energy system therefore government should bring down duties and taxes on the equipment being used for power generation through alternate energy resources.

The LCCI President briefed the Executive Committee regarding LCCI Council on Kalabagh Dam that would pave way for early completion of this mega project.

He said that the Council would have experts, technocrats, business community leaders, ex-officio and representatives of the Chambers and other trade bodies in its fold.