Businessmen slam NEPRA for massive tariff hike | The Express Tribune

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ISLAMABAD:

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Shakeel Munir has slammed Nepra for approving an unprecedented tariff hike of Rs7.90 per unit under fuel cost adjustment for May 2022.

He termed it a very harsh decision as it would put an extra burden of Rs136 billion on the electricity consumers in their bills for July 2022.

Speaking at a meeting of the business community, Munir said the decision would further enhance the cost of doing business and badly affect production activities.

He stressed that the government should review the hike to save the businesses and people from high inflation.

Munir pointed out that it had become a practice to pass on the cost of transmission and distribution losses and power theft to the end-users, which might have no precedent in other countries.

Instead of putting the burden on consumers, the government should bring reforms to reduce the losses of power companies and make them efficient, he stressed.

Furthermore, the energy cost in Pakistan is already the highest in the region and such hikes in the name of fuel cost adjustment would further increase the cost of production, making exports uncompetitive.

Citing a report of the Asian Development Bank, the ICCI chief said Pakistan’s energy sector had been a major hurdle in the way of economic growth as the energy crisis had caused a huge loss of $82 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) between 2007 and 2020.

He stated that the availability of cheap energy was the key to reducing the cost of doing business, boost economic activities and generate new jobs.

However, high energy costs in Pakistan due to the repeated hikes in power tariff and the fuel cost adjustment will render the industry uncompetitive in the international market.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2022.

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