LAHORE : Cheap energy is a must to keep momentum of Large Scale Manufacturing Sector (LSMS) growth. Therefore, the government should avail all avenues to ensure affordable energy supply particularly in the wake of CPEC that would expedite industrialization.

LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Vice President Nasir Saeed said sudden increases in electricity, gas and POL prices in the past had shattered the future planning of industrial sector.

They said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had shown wisdom by denying increase in gas price, however, the trade and industry needed more support from the government to bring down their input cost. LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said price of crude oil was at its lowest and there was a need to pass on its full benefit to the trade, industry and agriculture sector.

He demanded the govt to reduce petroleum price by at least Rs 20 per liter. “Pakistan agriculture sector is engine of growth. Cut in petroleum prices will bring down the input cost of agriculture production as high speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agri machinery,” he added.

Meanwhile, LCCI on Saturday welcomed the surprise goodwill visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan. LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said here that Modi’s visit would help ease the bilateral trade of Pakistan and India.

Sheikh Arshad called for removing the non-tariff trade barriers by India, citing that both the countries have great potential for bilateral trade but this should be on equal footings. He said indirect trade was taking place between Pakistan and India via third destination which not only added to shipment cost but also stretched lead time. “We have to find ways to mitigate the adverse effects of tariff and non-tariff barriers,” he maintained.

Sheikh Arshad said private sectors of both countries as well as people-to-people contact could help in raising the level of mutual trade.

He was of the view that India should also show some flexibility on its hard stance on various issues coming in the way of maintaining normal trader, cultural and other relations.

While, LCCI Executive Committee member Raja Adeel Ashfaq said Pakistan and India could enhance the two-way trade volume manifolds.