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Wednesday, July 24, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

Karachi industrialists observe shutdown over gas tariff hike

Industrial production came to halt due to lack of gas supply, says Businessmen Group Vice Chairman Jawed Bilwani

Karachi industrialists observed shutdown strike on Monday over exorbitant increase in gas prices, closing all seven industrial zones in the city.

“All industrial zones of Sindh and Balochistan have announced a strike. Industrialists are concerned as the price of gas has been increased by over 100%,” Businessmen Group Vice Chairman Jawed Bilwani said in a video statement.

Last month, industrialists of Karachi had announced that they would go on strike in the first week of December against the massive increase in gas prices. They had warned that they would stage citywide protest if the fuel was not provided.

The decision comes after the government announced last month that another hike in gas prices was slated for January 2024, at a time when the use of natural gas spikes.

“Industries are seriously worried and many industries have been closed,” the group’s vice chairman said as he highlighted that many industries had started downsizing its staff.

According to Bilwani, the people belonging to the community had suffered a lot of losses and industries could not absorb such a massive increase in gas prices.

He urged the government to take the matter “seriously” as the Rs1,350 of price determined by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority includes 22% profit. He wondered how the industries would be able to pay a price Rs2,100 to Rs2,200.

It merits here to mention that in October the federal government notified a hike of up to 172% in gas prices. Consumers who use less than 0.9hm3 gas per month and make up 57% of total consumers will have to pay fixed charges of Rs400.

Fixed charges for consumers using 1.5hm3 have been raised to Rs1,000 while charges for those using up to 4hm3 have been raised to 2,000.

Bilwani added that price was not increased for the fertliser sector, saying that such a sector was having Rs30 billion to Rs40 billion per annum. He claimed that it was being given subsidy after increasing prices for industrialists.

He went on to add that 40% was the line losses in the domestic sector. “If they end the losses in the domestic sector then we don’t need to import RLNG,” Bilawani and warned that this strike might further increase.

“The country was suffering from Rs30 billion of loss per day due to the strike,” he said and added that there would be a loss of $48 million of loss in exports per day.

While mentioning 11 industrial associations and 11 textile and exports associations in the two provinces, he urged the government to take this matter “seriously” and end the cross subsidy.

Bilwani demanded that no one should be given subsidy at a time when the country’s situation was not good.

“If industries would run, jobs and exports will end in your country and how you will be able to pay back to lenders,” he said and called on the government to sit with them to discuss the issue.

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