‘Cheap energy a must for LSM sector’

LAHORE: Cheap energy is a must to keep the growth momentum of large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector, therefore, the government should avail all avenues to ensure affordable energy supply particularly in the wake of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which would expedite industrialisation.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said the industrialists were unable to compete with the regional competitors due to less and costly energy in the country at a time when their competitors were enjoying subsidised tariff.

The LCCI president said the sudden increases in electricity, gas and POL prices in the past have shattered the future plans of the industrial sector. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has shown wisdom by denying increase in gas price but trade and industry need more support from the government to bring down their input cost.

Arshad said that price of crude oil is at its lowest but the government has not passed on its full benefit to the trade, industry and agriculture sector.

He demanded the government to reduce petroleum prices by at least Rs 20 per litre, considering the lowest oil prices in the international market. “The price of crude oil in the international market has come down to $37 per barrel but the policymakers are reluctant to pass on the benefit to the trade and industry and masses with this ratio,” he added.

He said that it is sheer injustice that traders and masses are not given the benefit of crude oil price reduction, adding that the poor are still suffering and paying heavy cost of electricity and transport fares.

Arshad said that only because of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, a large number of industrial units had already lost their due place in the international market, adding that the agriculture sector is also suffering badly because of high prices of petroleum products. “Pakistan’s agriculture sector is engine of growth. Cut in petroleum prices would bring down the input cost of agriculture production as high-speed diesel is being used in tractors, tube-wells, harvesters, thrashers and other agriculture machinery,” he added.

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