ISLAMABAD: The local business community in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry lauded the decision of Lahore High Court decision for annulling all kinds of surcharges from electricity bills and called upon the government to ensure full implementation of this decision with immediate effect as it will provide great relief to business and industry as well as to the common man.
Chairing the meeting, Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that surcharges in a commercial bill accounted for more than 43% of the total bill making electricity tariffs almost highest in the region. He said the average cost of commercial bill without surcharges was over Rs.17/unit while with the addition of surcharges, this average cost rose to around Rs.25/unit, which was highest in the region. Compared to this, the average tariff for the same unit was Rs.7.36 and Rs.5.47 respectively in India and Bangladesh while it was equal to Rs.8.59/unit in the US.
He said the high electricity tariff was the main factor for high cost of doing business in Pakistan and stressed that government should immediately withdraw all surcharges including equalization surcharge, debt servicing surcharge, universal obligation fund surcharge and Neelum-Jhelum surcharge from electricity bills and refund or adjust the collected amount of surcharges in the coming bills as the Lahore High Court has termed these surcharges as illegal and unconstitutional.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir Senior Vice President and Muhammad Ashfaq Hussain Chatha Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that instead of supplying electricity at affordable cost, government has made power tariff a source of generating tax revenue by imposing various surcharges, which was totally unjustified. They stressed that instead of burdening domestic and commercial consumers with unnecessary surcharges, government should focus on controlling line losses and power theft and take measures to bring drastic improvements in power sector.
They said withdrawal of surcharges from electricity bills will create multiple benefits for the economy as it will sufficiently reduce electricity cost, bring down cost of doing business, decrease production cost, reduce inflation, provide great relief to the common man and make our products more competitive in the international market.