LAHORE The business communitys representatives, trade bodies and industrial associations, while appreciating the government handing over decision of the GENCOs to the private sector, have said the move would enhance thermal power units generation capacity to the original level of 4,850MW, if implemented properly. While talking to The Nation, they said the improvement in power production ability would reduce the cost, resulting into a considerable cut in electricity tariff, which would ultimately promote industry and trade in the country. Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts Accessories Manufacturers vice chairman Nabeel Hashmi hailed the ECCs approval but showed his concern over the continuation of GENCOs staff, who will continue to work under the new management. He informed The Nation that the ECC had just approved lease of operation and maintenance of GENCOs. The private boards of the new management would have every right except hiring and firing of the staff of the power companies, he added. The example of the KESC is already before us, which was privatized but its old staff continued to work, he said and added, resultantly a positive move turned into a harmful decision. "The new management should have the power of hiring and firing of the staff who really runs the company and who are actually responsible to improve power generation. Hence it looks that another KESC like blunder is going to happen, said the PAPAAM vice chairman. Another issue is whether the private sector would make a new investment, as the major issue for the government was the lack of finance to maintain power generation capacity, he asked. He added that public wants cheaper and smooth supply of electricity. So there was a need of some strong political decision, which should be taken for the sake of public. Presently half of the country is not paying electricity bill and that burden goes to Punjab, which is clear discrimination. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman Gohar Ejaz welcome the decision, saying that after the implementation the power generation capacity would be enhanced and power tariff would reduce. He said that the APTMA had already suggested the government to levy a 10 percent power sector infrastructure development tax on all electricity and gas bills with a view to generate funds to resolve energy crisis in the country. He said that by imposing this tax the government can generate more than Rs150 billion to refrain from borrowing money from external sources to develop energy sector infrastructure. He said that manufacturers want smooth supply of power and for this they can pay more, as they know that the power generation cost is soaring due to raise in oil prices.Mr Gohar said the country was facing huge energy shortfall and the government did not have money for new projects. He said furnace oil based thermal generation cost the government very dearly and it had to provide subsidy to consumers in spite of its financial problems. On the other hand, the consumers were forced to pay a very high price for electricity that was not available the whole day. He said that the export-oriented textile industry in the province remained without gas supplies. Moreover, it had to face long duration electricity cuts like the rest of the manufacturing. He said that the industry had been suffering production losses to the tune of $2 billion in one year because of gas and power cuts. He said the Aptma was also ready to build a LNG terminal within six months provided the gas utility companies ensure that the additional cost of LNG imported was evenly passed on to all consumers. The LCCI former Vice President Aftab Ahmed Vohra said that industry could not survive and stay in business unless it gets constant and smooth supply of electricity and gas. He said that energy shortages for the manufacturing units in Punjab are impeding industrial growth and expansion in the province. He said that the economy was already reeling under the massive economic losses from the terrorism while energy crunch was increasing economic difficulties, as it was not being tackled on war footing. The real solution is not privatization, he said and added the govt needs to construct new large dams to control the crisis. He said that electricity and gas shortages are forcing the manufacturers to shut down plants, lay off workers and stop paying loans to the banks.