LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry feared that increase in gas tariff at this time would increase challenges of industrial sector.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that massive increase in the gas tariff would hurt the exports as it would increase the cost of doing business manifold and expel the Pakistani products from the international export market.

They said that such anti-business measures would hamper the growth of manufacturing sector. They said that the raise in the gas tariff would create multiple problems for the industrialists as they have to bear heavy loss while fulfilling their export commitments.

They said that the government always vow to take the private sector on board but the government departments like Ogra are doing quite different and don't bother to consult the LCCI or any other sector-specific association.

They LCCI office-bearers said that the impact of increase in gas tariff would be much bigger than the expectation of the government. Such decision should be avoided while keeping in view the ongoing economic scenario in the country.

They said that even the slightest raise in the cost of production, at this critical juncture would spell doom and oust Pakistani merchandise from the international export market.

The LCCI office-bearers urged the government to withdraw hike in gas tariff immediately in the larger interest of the economy.

The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) also said the hike in the price of natural gas will leave the troubled CNG sector unviable.

The CNG sector facing multiple problems will become unfeasible after the gas price hike wasting investment of Rs450 billion and leaving hundreds of thousands unemployed therefore it should be insulated, it said. The non-viability of the limping CNG sector will add to the oil import bill, increase the budgetary deficit and enhance environmental pollution, said Ashar Haleem, Central Chairman of APCNGA.

He said that CNG sector is already paying more than any other sector for natural gas while an additional burden of forty percent on this sector will be unbearable as it will increase the price of fuel by Rs18-20 percent.

The price of gas for the CNG sector has been upward revised from Rs700 to Rs980 per mmbtu, he informed.

Increased price of the fuel will result in little difference between the price of gas and petrol while masses will be deprived of economical fuel resulting in may problems including the high cost of transportation, he added.

Ashar Haleem said that CNG industry deserves to be insulated from the hike in the price of natural gas otherwise masses using this fuel will have to switch on petrol which will collectively cost them billions of rupees.

He demanded of the government to protect the CNG industry from the devastating impact of the recent decision in the larger national interest.