LCCI appeals to waive-off three months electricity, gas bills [The Nation] 24 Mar, 2020

LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has appealed to the government to waive-off electricity and gas bills of the consumers for at least three months. In a statement issued on Monday, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar also appealed to the property owners to waive-off rents for at least two months. “People are restricted to their homes and businesses have been shut down; it is, therefore, the only way relief can be provided to the citizens” as the country deals with the health crisis, they added. The LCCI office-bearers said that small businesses, employees, and daily-wagers are facing challenges in terms of livelihoods as many of them either did not have work opportunities anymore or were staying home owing to the government’s orders. They also suggested to the government that marriage halls may be used as quarantine centers by the government due to shortage of hospitals. In return, government should give 3-year tax holiday to the owners of marriage halls. Meanwhile, former vice president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chairman Kattar Bund Road Industrial Association Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi has urged the government to implement same electricity tariff for all industries. While presiding over a meeting of the Association, Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi said that government has given a tariff of 0.75 per cent to the textile sector. Same tariff should be given to all industries to bring down their industrial input cost. He said that Pakistan will not be able to increase its exports until the government succeeds in reducing the electricity tariff for industries. “It is almost impossible to increase exports unless factories get electricity at affordable rates”, he said. He said that the main reason behind the below the potential exports is not only the strength of the rupee, but it is the high electricity tariff that has hit the industries hard. “Cheap electricity is necessary to remain competitive in the region. Pakistani products are not competitive compared to India and Bangladesh,” he added.

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