ISLAMABAD, AUG 27 /DNA/ – Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that due to the massive hike in electricity bills, the traders are in great trouble and people have been forced to come to the streets, so he demanded that the government should abolish all taxes on electricity bills to provide some relief to the traders and the general public. He said that currently there are many taxes on the electricity bill, including sales tax, electricity duty, fuel price adjustment, F.C. surcharge and TV fee, and these taxes account for over 30 percent in the total bill. He said that the price of electricity has increased by over 90 percent in the last five years, while the rising inflation has reduced the purchasing power of the people and business activities are also suffering due to these factors. He stressed that the government should take urgent notice of this situation and remove all taxes imposed on electricity bills as a short-term measure. He emphasized that the government should bring urgent reforms in the energy sector to save people from further troubles. He expressed these views while addressing a delegation of Traders Welfare Association, F-10 Markaz, Islamabad that visited ICCI led by its President Ahmed Khan.
President of Traders Welfare Association, F-10 Markaz Ahmad Khan and Secretary General Muhammad Naeem Iqbal said that the exorbitant increase in electricity bills has made it difficult for traders to pay the rents of the shops. They said that if the price of electricity is not reduced, many traders would be forced to close their businesses. They said that carpeting of roads, repair of footpaths, replacement of old sewage lines with new ones and other development works are needed in F-10 Markaz and added that the way Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari is working with CDA to resolve issues of traders, hopefully the development works in F-10 Markaz will also be started soon.
Khalid Iqbal Malik, Group Leader ICCI, said that the rising inflation has not only broken the back of the people, but businesses are also suffering badly. The increase in the prices of electricity, gas, water and oil is adding fuel to the fire. He said that electricity is becoming more expensive due to payments to IPPs in dollars. Additionally, the government has imposed various taxes on the electricity bills, which is unjustified. He urged that the government, in consultation with the business community, should devise a strategy to reduce the energy prices to a reasonable level in order to save the public and the traders from further problems.
Zafar Bakhtawari, Former President ICCI and Secretary General of UBG Pakistan, said that F-10 Markaz is an important business center of Islamabad, so CDA should try to develop it on modern lines. He said that the President ICCI, Ahsan Bakhtawari, is working day and night to serve the traders and many problems of the traders related to CDA are being solved by his efforts, while the rest will also be solved soon.
Ajmal Baloch, President All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajaran, said that the business leaders of the entire country are consulting to deal with the issue of electricity bills and if the government does not solve this problem soon, a nationwide protest movement may be launched. He said that the government has collected over PKR 230 billion from consumers in the form of sales tax and withholding tax on electricity bills in 2021-22, which is totally unjustified. He said that relief should be given to the public and the traders by immediately ending the free electricity supply to all government officers and WAPDA employees and by abolishing taxes.
Former President ICCI Muhammad Ijaz Abbasi, Chairman Traders Welfare Association F-10 Markaz Tahir Abbasi, Co-Chairman Amanullah Cheema, Patron-in-Chief Mian Maqbool, Senior Vice President Tariq Mughal, Khalid Chaudhry, Maqsood Tabish, Zaheer Abbas, Chaudhry Rizwan and others also spoke on the occasion and demanded that the government should withdraw hike in electricity prices to save the businesses from further destruction.