KARACHI: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum President Mian Zahid Hussain Monday urged Prime Minister Imran Khan that there should be no increase in electricity tariff for Karachi and the power utility should be asked to reduce power theft and line losses.

He said that a hike of Rs2.89 per unit will hit masses, damage production, and compromise exports and its repercussions would be felt across the country. Mian Zahid said Karachi is a commercial and industrial hub of Pakistan and a slight increase in the cost of any input hits the whole population as well as exports.

He said the government should think twice before increasing the cost of inputs for industrial sectors. He noted that masses, as well as the business community, is already consuming costliest energy in the region and continued hike in the tariff promotes corruption.

Inefficiency, incompetence, cronyism, undue patronage, political interference, and other ills have made power sector a grave threat for the economy while the power sector regulator is as useless as departments regulating other sectors. He said the government is wasting heavy amount on NEPRA which has given free hand to the power companies.

The business leader noted that lockdown amid economic slowdown has shocked majority and now unannounced load shedding is hurting people and productive sectors. The government should provide relief to masses in such a challenging environment and should not add to their problems, he observed.

He said that electricity tariff should be reduced to trigger production, exports and employment as Karachi can never prosper in the presence of K-Electric which is only concerned with maximizing profit.

More power companies should be established for Karachi to create a competitive environment, he said, adding that giving power production and distribution to one company is as good as giving it a double-edged sword.