ISLAMABAD/Karachi/rawalpindi - Business community on Tuesday welcomed the move of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to announce a cut of Rs.3 in per unit tariff of electricity for industrial consumers.

The businessmen termed it a highly positive development as it would provide good relief to industrial sector, bring down production cost and help in improving exports of the country. Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that according to a study power tariffs for industry in Pakistan were more than 10 US Cents per KWh as compared to 5.4 in Bangladesh, 9.3 in Nepal and 9.1 in Sri Lanka which showed that cost of electricity for industry in Pakistan was almost highest in the region and there was a dire need to bring it down make our industry competitive.

He said Pakistan was generating about 35 percent electricity through furnace oil while price of crude oil in international market has come down to below $37 per barrel. He said it was a good opportunity for the government to provide sufficient relief to business & industry as well as the common man by announcing proportionate cut in the prices of POL products so that people could avail full benefit of reduced international oil prices.

ICCI president said that Pakistan has the potential to generate 50GW hydro electricity while it has so far exploited only around 13% of hydropower potential and stressed that government should make utmost efforts for maximum exploitation of hydropower potential which was the cheapest source of energy in the country.

He said government should also focus on controlling high power transmission and distribution losses which were over 17% in Pakistan as compared to 2% in Singapore, 3% in South Korea, 6% in China & Malaysia, 9% in Sri Lanka & Indonesia and 12% in Bangladesh. He said making power tariffs competitive would yield multiple benefits for the country as it would reduce cost of doing business, enhance industrial productivity, boost business activities and exports, create more jobs, improve tax revenue and contribute positively to strengthening the economy,

Meanwhile, patron in chief of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) S M Muneer and President KATI Zahid Saeed have praised Prime Minister for announcement of lowering prices of electricity by Rs3 per unit for industries.

They said that in his recent visit to Karachi the PM has given a roadmap for solution of security and energy crises. The KATI leaders also appreciated the investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors by the government.

Meanwhile, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Mian Humayun Parvez has also lauded the cut in power tariff for industrial users.

He said that industries especially manufacturers were suffering from the high cost of electricity. The power tariff cut by Rs 3 per unit would serve as a power booster and this would ultimately result in increasing our exports, he added. President RCCI said that the cost of doing business was very much high in the country and it was pushing traders to go for imports. He expressed hope that the slash in electricity tariff for industries would help them to improve their exports targets as well as earning foreign exchange for the country. “More industries will be established and it will create more job opportunities,” he further added.