Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trade and industry: PIAF terms 2010 a nerve-shattering year

Trade and industry: PIAF terms 2010 a nerve-shattering year

LAHORE  (December 28, 2010) : While drawing up a roadmap for the revival of economy for the year 2011, Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Monday termed the year 2010 as nerve shattering for the trade and Industry. "Power outages, repeated hikes in electricity rates, gas shortage, price spiral, mismanagement and bad governance were the hallmarks of the outgoing year."

This was the consensus at a meeting chaired the PIAF Chairman Irfan Qaiser Sheikh and also addressed by PIAF Vice Chairmen Iqbal Baig Chugtai, Khawaja Shahzeb Akram and former LCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar. The participants were of the unanimous view that in the year 2010, there was a lack of coherence in the government policies and the things on the economic showed downward move instead of making any forward movement. Exports went down quantitatively while the situation of new investment was very bleak.

The power tariff registered an upward trend of 67 percent in 2010 while it was almost hundred percent in the last three years. Due to this single reason, Pakistani merchandise failed to get due appreciation at the international market and the neighbouring countries made huge gains as the rate of electricity for the industry in Bangladesh was 9.5 cents, in India it was 9 cents against a rate of 13 cents in Pakistan. They said that the entire trade and industry suffered heavy losses in 2010 due to repeated long hours scheduled and unscheduled power outages and resultant disruptions in production processes.

The participants of the meeting urged the government to declare the year 2011 as the Year of Power Generation and initiate work on mega water projects including Kalabagh Dam. "Unless and until dependence on thermal power is curtailed, there are hardly any chances of economic revival and precious foreign exchange was being spent on oil import." The PIAF Chairman also stressed the need for bringing down the fast escalating rate of inflation that has now started taking its toll. While calling for bringing down the rate of interest, the PIAF office-bearers said that the State Bank of Pakistan should divert its attention towards banking spread that is intolerable and taking the equity away from the reach of the business community.

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