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Gas shortage creates serious crisis in industrial sector - Mian Zahid Hussain.

Interview of former Chairman, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry

Fifty per cent availability of natural gas in the country also halves economic and industrial activities in Pakistan. This was stated by renowned industrialist Mian Zahid Hussain as the Energy Update recently interviewed him mainly on the state of the industrial sector in Pakistan. Following are the important excerpts of his interview for our readers:

Energy Update: What damage to the Pakistani trade and industry has been done by the Covid-19?

Mian Zahid Hussain (MZH): The industry and economic activities in the country are yet to be fully revived although they have been on the rise and gradually improving. In this regard, the government's policy of imposing smart lockdown in the country has been appreciated by the chief of the World Health Organization. Earlier, the complete lockdown regime imposed in the country was much stricter that affected our economic activities and exports to a great extent.

Now things are getting improved gradually. The businessmen have been trying their best to overcome the loss they incurred during the last three to four months. They are trying to speed up the business activities. Then afterwards the business activities once more came to a halt for around 14 days due to heavy monsoon rains in the province. Then there are also issues related to gas shortfall and mismanagement in the power sector of the country. Owing to these problems related to the energy sector, the industry could not work in its full swing. The industries have been unable to meet their production demand including export orders from abroad. All these issues have been mainly due to bad governance in the country.

EU: What is the attitude of the present government towards resolution of these issues?

MZH: As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, we see fullest effort, struggle, and sympathy on his part to resolve our issues. But it is unfortunate that the performance of his team and that of public sector institutions including their chiefs has not been up to the mark. They should gear up to match the level of the PM. They should support the efforts of the PM. There have been a number of issues in this regard as these institutions and heads have not been fulfilling their obligations with full zeal and responsibility. The same issues were communicated to the PM and Sindh Governor when we met them. Some of the team members of the PM like Nadeem Babar, Abdul Razak Dawood, and Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh have been discharging their responsibilities excellently as they are always available to us. Similarly, the Governor of State Bank of Pakistan and new chief of Federal Board of Revenue have been doing good work.

EU: What is your viewpoint regarding the gas crisis for the industries?

MZH: Economic and industrial activities in the country are reduced to almost a half as Pakistan has energy resources barely enough to fulfil 50 per cent of its demand of the natural gas. Extensive management is required to fill this gap between demand and supply of gas. The number of gas connections is increased in the country every year by 500,000. I have recently talked to Nadeem Babar as he said that industries would not face the worst form of gas shortage in the upcoming winter as was the case in the previous years. The situation in this regard will surely improve with increase in the import of the RLNG.

EU: What is your viewpoint about the situation of civic infrastructure in Karachi?

MZH: On the basis of our recent top-level meetings with the Chief of Army Staff and the PM, we think that the newly announced Rs 1100 billion Karachi development package is a serious and sincere effort on the part of the government. A good aspect of this development is that the Sindh government is on-board in this package. Not just the Sindh government, but all the concerned stakeholders including the National Disaster Management Authority are on-board in this regard. The recent monsoon rain disaster has fully exposed the performance of all the civic agencies. This indiscipline and maladministration has caused much damage to Karachi as the management of the city needs to be organized. The work on the Karachi development package should immediately start as funds for the purpose have been allocated. The PM and the Army Chief both have said that three years are required to implement this package.

EU: What is the progress of the lubricant industry of the country?

MZH: The lubricant industry has also been passing through a state of crisis as the National Refinery utterly lacks the ability to fulfil the demand of raw material required by the industry to produce lubricants. For instance, the National Refinery requires two million gallons water daily to do production at full capacity as against this demand it is supplied just 200,000 gallons water every day so the refinery is unable to meet our demand of raw material.n
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Publication:Energy Update
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2020
Words:883
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