Outlook: Don’t get complacent over oil’s freefall, LCCI tells government

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 3:27:07 by



LAHORE: 

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in its “Economic Outlook”, has cautioned the government to be aware of erratic global economic recovery, advising it not to be complacent on low petroleum rates that could rebound.

It advised the government to remain focused on power and energy issues by giving priority to recoveries from private and public sector and reducing line losses to acceptable level within 30-90 days.

This, it adds, would reduce power shortages to some extent in the short run. In the medium term, the government should improve the energy mix by going for low cost generation fuels to replace expensive furnace oil. The long term hydro-electric projects should be initiated immediately which would be functional in 10-15 years.

Moreover, all alternate power generation resources available in the country should be exploited by giving incentives to the private sector. Through its Economic Outlook, the LCCI has also appealed to the government to exploit the available coal potential of the country that has been given lip service in the last two decades.

The Economic Outlook highlighted the importance of efficient railways not only for transportation of coal but also for exploiting the actual potential of trade corridor. It linked success of the trade corridor to the development of Gwadar port on most modern lines.

The document revealed that 68% of the trade that members of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) conduct with each other in petroleum products. It urged the OIC to facilitate the non-petroleum products trade between the member countries instead of importing same products from non-members.

The case of remarkable turnaround in Malaysian economy was discussed in detail that should guide our economic planners to formulate prudent policies.

LCCI President Ijaz A Mumtaz said that the very objective of the LCCI is to give a helping hand to the government for economic uplift of the country.

“Almost all areas of the economy including agriculture sector would be thoroughly discussed in the LCCI’s ‘Economic Outlook’ in its upcoming issue,” he said.

Mumtaz added that the agriculture sector must now be upgraded into process and semi-process industry.

The value addition for the agricultural produce should go beyond dependence on cotton textile. Cooked and semi-cooked food should become the main engine of growth. The issue of governance for providing security to the economic zones must run high on the agenda of the state.

“Our potential for strategic location has been undermined by disturbances in Balochistan and border areas of K-P. It has badly affected Gwadar’s potential to serve as the trade gateway from Central Asia to ASEAN and South African territory.”

He said that Pakistanis could get rid of the loan culture by building water reservoirs including Diamer Bhasha and Kalabagh Dams. He said that billion could be saved only through the completion of Kalabagh Dam and up to 40% of oil import bill could be curtailed if this project is given the go ahead.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2014.

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