FPCCI Urges Energy Price Rationalization for Industries

FPCCI Urges Energy Price Rationalization for Industries

Karachi, February 25, 2024 – The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has voiced its concern over the escalating energy prices for industries, urging the government to implement immediate rationalization measures.

The demand was made by FPCCI Acting President Saquib Fayyaz Magoon during the historic All Pakistan Chambers Conference (APCC) 2024 held at the Rahim Yar Khan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RYK-CCI).

Magoon, in his keynote address, echoed the collective sentiments of the business, industry, and trade community in Pakistan, emphasizing the urgent need for the government to revisit electricity and gas prices. He stressed that the current pricing structure must align with ground realities to ensure the profitability and sustainability of businesses.

The APCC 2024, a high-profile conference, called for the establishment of an apolitical, legally-binding, sectorally-inclusive, and long-term Charter of Economy. This proposed charter aims to ensure continuity, pragmatism, validity, growth-orientation, and a consultative approach in economic policymaking.

Highlighting the recent increase in gas tariffs for industries, Magoon labeled the move as anti-business and attributed it to fulfilling International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities. He expressed concern that such measures could lead to a surge in inflation in the coming months. Magoon urged the government to reconsider its policy of unbridled energy price hikes, particularly the substantial 223% increase in captive gas prices since January 2023.

Magoon also proposed the establishment of a federal food authority to streamline regulations and trade practices in interprovincial food trade. Additionally, he called for stronger regulation of shipping lines to prevent the exploitation of businessmen.

To address Pakistan’s energy-related challenges and water scarcity, the FPCCI Acting Chief recommended expediting the construction of ongoing dam projects and announcing new, smaller dams across the country. This, he argued, would contribute to improving the nation’s energy and food situation simultaneously.

On the economic front, Magoon highlighted the adverse effects of inflation on households and businesses, suggesting that traditional methods like raising interest rates prove counterproductive. He urged the government to explore unconventional monetary policy tools to mitigate inflation’s impact on businesses.

Regarding state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Magoon emphasized the need for privatization to eliminate the losses incurred, amounting to PKR 1,400 billion over the last two years. He urged the new government to prioritize privatization as a key strategy for economic recovery.

Furthermore, Abdul Rauf Mukhtar called for an enhancement in the definition of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to PKR 800 million from the current PKR 250 million. This adjustment would enable SMEs to flourish, create jobs, and generate revenues in the face of massive rupee devaluation.

Muhammad Iqbal, President of RYK-CCI, criticized the perceived high-handed approach of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and urged the government to control their excesses, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

In conclusion, Zaki Aijaz, VP FPCCI, highlighted the global shift toward clean and green alternative energy sources, asserting that Pakistan, with its abundant resources, should focus on these sustainable options.

The FPCCI’s demands reflect the pressing concerns of the business community, and it remains to be seen how the government responds to these calls for policy adjustments to support the economic growth and sustainability of industries in Pakistan.