LAHORE - The cottage industry has urged the government to announce a special package for its ailing units to offset the financial losses it has suffered because of unprecedented and unscheduled power cuts and highest-ever electricity tariff.

The representatives of SMEs said that the package for Cottage Industry must include one-slab low electricity tariff, power supply for at least 8 to 10 hours at a stretch and its employees limit should be raised to 20 persons instead of existing five persons.

They said that the high rates of electricity being charged from them and longer hours power cuts have totally destroyed the small businesses therefore the government should come up with a package of incentives in shape of cut in electricity tariff and power outages duration.

While talking to the LCCI Acting President Kashif Younis Meher, a 25-member delegation of cottage industry belonging to Daroghawala, Bund Road, Dawood Colony and Baghbanpra, headed by Chairman All Pakistan Cottage Industry and Small Traders Ghulam Sarwar Malik, said that the government must understand the importance of cottage industry in the country as it is not only generating revenue for the government but also providing jobs to millions of people.

They said that it was very unfortunate that while preparing schedule for power cuts the LESCO authorities do not consult the stakeholders. They said that Mominpura Industrial area that has yet not been granted the status of industrial area despite repeated assurances by the government is a hub of cottage industry and now-a-days these small businessmen are sitting idle only because of senseless power cuts by the LESCO.

On this occasion, LCCI Acting president said that it is beyond the understanding of the Lahore chamber of commerce and industry that why these clusters of the cottage industry have not so far been given the industrial area status.

He also urged the Labor department and relevant authorities to undertake a systematic review of the existing definition of the cottage industry in line with international parameters. The review is important given the change in economic realities in Pakistan and the needs of cottage industry. He said that all the places where upto twenty people are working should be declared cottage industry instead of present strength of five workers. He said that around the globe cottage industry is considered the backbone of the economy and facilitated in all possible ways but in Pakistan the situation is the other way round.