ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has shown great concerns over the increase of Rs40 billion in circular debt in the last three weeks as it would worsen the power crisis in the country, badly affect business and industrial activities and further weaken the economy. It called upon the government to take drastic remedial measures to overcome the rising circular debt in order to save the economy from further troubles.

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that the circular debt was Rs507 billion on 31st May 2018 which has now gone up to Rs547 billion and if this trend continued, the country would face worst kind of power loadshedding in coming days that would badly damage the overall economy.

He said the debt of energy sector has crossed Rs1 trillion mark and this situation called for urgent measures to save the economy from falling into further crisis. He said that some influential people were reportedly the major cause of rising circular debt as they were not paying electricity dues and stressed that government should devise a new strategy for recovery of electricity bills from big defaulters without any discrimination.

He said the whole nation should not be made to suffer due to the non-payment of bills by few individuals.

The ICCI president said that as per Economic Survey of Pakistan for 2017-18, the country was producing 64% of electricity through thermal sources due to which the energy cost in Pakistan has become costlier in the region. He said the average price of electricity in Pakistan was Rs.13 to Rs.14 per unit as compared to Rs.7 per unit in India.

Due to this situation, the cost of doing business in Pakistan has increased manifold. He urged that the government should focus on hydro and renewable energy sources for power generation that would reduce the production cost, bring down inflation, facilitate the growth of business activities, enhance exports and strengthen the economy.

Muhammad Naveed Malik senior vice president and Nisar Mirza vice president, ICCI said that the transmission and distribution network of Pakistan has quite old due to which T&D losses were increasing. They said that some electricity companies have recorded T&D losses from 22 to 37 percent while due to transmission losses, Hubco had to bear annual loss of Rs.130 billion. They urged that the government should take immediate steps to reduce T&D losses and overcome theft of electricity that would improve the energy supply to industry, facilitate the growth of business activities and stabilize the economy.