KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday urged the government to take quick decisions in the aftermath of the floods to protect the continuity of business activities and refrain distribution companies, including K-Electric (KE), from charging fuel adjustment charges (FAC).

The business community leaders urged protecting jobs and revenue generation, besides extending the last date for payment of electricity bills in view of the extraordinary situation.

In a statement, FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh estimated that at least Rs2,000 billion or nine to ten billion dollars, is required within a short span of the next 10 months to normalise the lives of the flood-affected people for rebuilding the infrastructure, reconstructing the damaged homes, and keeping the business activities afloat.

He appealed to the international community, development finance institutions (DFIs), friendly countries and the top 20 economies of the world to pool their financial, technical and human resources to help rebuild one-third of Pakistan severely affected by the floods.

Urge govt to ensure business activities remain unaffected

He predicted that at least 8.33pc fewer domestically produced edible crops would be available this year, significantly worsening the country’s already existing food shortages and putting additional strain on the country’s foreign exchange reserves to cover the import deficit in food supplies.

The FPCCI chief urged the government to negotiate the restructuring of external debts with donor agencies and friendly countries to create a fiscal space for flood relief rebuilding activities and immediately start detailed damage assessment at every district, tehsil and village level, arrange multilateral or bilateral donor conferences to generate substantial donations from the international community. The government should also waive off electricity bills of the businesses affected for three months, restore natural rainwater passages and canals to their natural shapes before next year’s monsoon season and unveil a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate internally displaced people (IDPs) with a deadline of six months, including the provision of basic essential items and medicines.

In a letter, KCCI President Mohammad Idress asked Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to prohibit distribution companies from charging FAC in addition to withdrawing the contentious Fixed Charges (FCs).

He said the business community is facing a severe liquidity crunch as all the receivables have been pending due to the ongoing extraordinary situation after the flash floods.

He said electricity tariffs for all distribution companies and KE have been raised by more than 100pc, which the industries as well as the consumers cannot absorb. He added that exorbitant FAC and FCs are neither in favour of the industries nor the economy.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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