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Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry lauds withdrawal of gas cut plan

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Lahore, June 28, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Thursday welcomed the government decision to withdraw new gas curtailment plan and continue with the supply of gas to industry in Punjab for five days a week.

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that continuous supply of gas and electricity to the industry was a prerequisite to strengthen the economy that has been facing multiple challenges and pressures for a long time now.

He said that it was not the export oriented textile sector that suffered badly but the millions of industrial workers also faced retrenchments and if the decision to cut gas to the industry for another day was implemented it would have again sparked street protests.

The LCCI President said that Punjab alone suffered a GDP loss of 2-3 per cent because of energy shortages and a cut in gas supply for another day a week was bound to aggravate the situation further.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the economic scenario is not as rosy as being painted by some circles. Foreign direct investment is at its lowest ebb while the Large Scale Manufacturing sector was also crawling whereas neighbouring countries are doing a roaring business in the global market.

He said that international buyers were reluctant to visit Pakistan because of unavailability of electricity and deteriorating law and order situation in some parts of the country. He said that the cost of doing business in Pakistan is also higher when compared with regional countries while the unavailability of low cost finance has forced the businessmen to shelve their expansion plans.

“When the local businesses are unable to produce cheaper quality goods and when they can not ensure timely delivery of their foreign orders why the foreign buyers would be coming to Pakistan to make purchases or to initiate new business ventures.”

The LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and industry had already, on a number of occasions, appealed to the State Bank Governor to bring down the mark up rate to single digit but all appeals fell on deaf ear with a result that the much needed industrialization process turned stagnant.

He said that that private sector can be engine of growth only when it is facilitated. This will create jobs, reduce poverty and inflation, improve exports, increase productions and build a stronger economy.

The LCCI President said that during his twelve-day recent visit to Turkey and the UK, he found the businessmen over their cool, calm and well focused to their respective businesses while in Pakistan the business community spend its days and nights while dealing with other issues than the businesses they are dealing in.

“Their economies are doing well despite pressures and challenges while ours is going down with every passing day.”

The LCCI President said that the Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf would have to open dialogue with the private sector at the earliest for preparation new business friendly policies.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

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