Karachi Chamber Strongly Rejects Electricity Tariff Hike

Karachi Chamber Strongly Rejects Electricity Tariff Hike

Karachi, February 27, 2024 – The President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, vehemently criticized the recent government approval for an increase in electricity tariffs, particularly condemning the decision by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to allow a significant adjustment in fuel charges for January 2024.

President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh expressed strong disapproval of NEPRA’s decision, which permits an increase of Rs7.0562 per kWh in fuel charges for January 2024. He highlighted that this decision is unacceptable as it not only raises the cost of doing business but also exacerbates the hardships faced by the common man amid the ongoing era of inflation.

In a released statement, President KCCI emphasized the unfairness of imposing an additional sum of Rs7.0562 per kWh on all categories of consumers for January 2024. He criticized NEPRA’s suggestion to include this variation in fuel charges for January 2024 under a separate head in the bills for March 2024. President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh pointed out that this approach would not only disrupt the budgeting of households but also significantly increase costs for manufacturing units across the country in March.

The President of KCCI underscored the challenges faced by the business community, which is already grappling with the high cost of doing business. This high cost has rendered Pakistani goods uncompetitive in international markets and unaffordable for the common man.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh urged the government to take notice of the actions taken by NEPRA, stating that the regulator has been approving tariff hikes without considering the repercussions on the economy, trade, industry, and the lives of the poor masses. He expressed concern over the impact of unbearably high electricity bills, which have led to the closure of many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and a reduction in industrial activities, resulting in widespread unemployment.

The KCCI President warned of potential social unrest, as individuals facing job losses and unmanageable electricity bills may resort to defaulting on payments, confrontations with electricity service providers, resorting to illegal connections, or participating in protests. He criticized the government’s strategy of addressing the circular debt by raising tariffs, emphasizing that such a move is not wise and could further worsen the situation by encouraging theft across the country.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh appealed to the government to restrain NEPRA from making decisions that are perceived as anti-people and anti-business. He urged authorities to adopt measures that would protect businesses from collapsing and safeguard the well-being of the general public.