Suspension gas supply to industries, CNG filling stations in KP slammed

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Business community called the suspension of gas supply to industries and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially in Peshawar a sheer violation of the article 158-A of the constitution of country, describing the government was committing contempt of court, demanding restoration of gas supply CNG stations immediately.
Businessmen condemned the presentation of the Finance Supplementary Bill 2021 or ‘Mini-budget’, calling it as result of the government’s inconsistent economic policies and putting additional tax burden worth Rs343billion.
Traders described the introduction of the Point of Sale (POS) system as tantamount to creating division between business communities, which should be abolished immediately.
Strongly opposing the collection of heavy amounts on head of Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA) in Electricity Bills, the business community called the FPA a contempt of court and urged the superior judiciary to take suo-motu notice of it.
These apprehensions and issues were discussed during a meeting of the executive committee (EC) of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry that was chaired by the chamber president Hasnain Khurshid Ahmad, held here at the Chamber’s House on Tuesday.
The EC meeting was attended by SCCI Senior Vice President Imran Khan, Vice President Javed Akhtar, former president FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour, executive body members Engr Manzoor Elahi, Pervez Khan Khattak, Haji Ghulam Hussain, Ejaz Khan Afridi, Naeem Qasmi, Waqar Ahmad, Zahoor Khan, Zarak Khan, Farhad Asfandyar, Muhammad Ashfaq, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Mubarak Begum, while former presidents SCCI Riaz Arshad, Faiz Muhammad Faizi, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, former SVPs Shahid Hussain, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, former VP Haris Mufti, Saddar Gul, Moen Sethi, Retailers, All Pakistan Woven Package Association senior office bearer Sh. Umar Hussain and others participated as observers in the forum.
The EC meeting unanimously adopted a resolution in which out-rightly rejected the presentation of Mini-budget, forcibly closure of CNG filling stations, introduction of POS system, collection of FPA in power bills and government’s ‘anti-business’ policies.
The participants asked the government to introduce business-friendly policies to facilitate the business community instead of further adding to their problems on different pretexts.
Riaz Arshad while addressing the forum, informed POS system has been implemented since July 2020, which is clear reflection of division between the traders’ community. He added that prices of necessary items would further escalate after collection of additional taxes through this system.
The SCCI former president suggested the launch of an advertisement campaign, writing of letters to departments concerned as well as approaching the superior court against the POS system, on which the house was fully agreed.
Similarly, he raised the issue of parity between KP and Punjab regarding collection of factory labour charges by EOBI – Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution and ESSI – Employees Social Security Institution as he said ESSI and EOBI had been charged Rs480/- per labour in Punjab as compared to Rs1205/- per labour in KP, which was clear contradiction, asking to immediate remove it.
Riaz Arshad condemned the unnecessary actions and raids on business premises in pretext of using polythene bags and other reasons.
The house, on the occasion, discussed the closure of CNG filling stations, calling it sheer violation of article 158-A of the constitution, besides collection of FPA in power bills, decided to strongly protest against this decision and move the court as well.
The forum demanded the police department to ensure the security of the business community.
Later on, the SCCI president assured the house that the traders’ community issue will be taken up with relevant government departments/authorities in an effective manner and to resolve them amicably.