Textile industry calls for equitable gas distribution

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LAHORE - Demanding equitable distribution of gas, the Punjab chapter of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association has said the textile industry is fighting for its survival due to inequitable supply of energy and power. Aptma Punjab chapter chairman Shahzad Ali Khan at a press conference demanded resumption of 5 days a week gas supply to the textile industry in Punjab. The APTMA held a meeting to discuss the crisis arising out of the prevailing gas suspension to the textile industry. Gohar Ejaz chairman of APTMA said that APTMA has sought equitable and transparent distribution of gas to all stakeholders.

This strident increase in number of days for non-availability of gas was limiting capacity utilisation, viability and growth of the textile industry in Punjab.

Terming energy shortage the prime cause of decline in industrial growth, he said that 60 per cent of production capacity of the textile industry was dysfunctional due to short supply of electricity and gas.

He said the APTMA has asked the government to ensure gas supply to the industry on 5 days a week basis and expedite the import of Liquefied Natural Gas.

He criticized the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited for inequitable gas outages, making the textile industry in Punjab suffer 43% of total shortage as against merely 13% by the transport sector. Gas shortages look unjustifiable in current low temperatures. The industry is highly indebted to Prime Ministerís Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Husain for the support he provided to the industries in Punjab that saved the day for them. However, some vested interests do not like the prudent approach of the adviser who has given preference to the job providing productive sector over the luxurious use of gas in cars.

The textile industry was denied gas for 77 days in 2008-09, followed by 100 days in 2009-10 and 157 days in 2010-11, he said.

Gohar Ejaz said the government should form a clear policy of gas supply and demanded that the revised policy should not shift the total gas shortfall on the textile sector.† He said that the textile industry had already lost $1.5 billion of exports last year as a sizeable capacity remained idle on account of gas outages. This loss is likely to touch $3.0 billion this year due to an increase in value of commodities, he added.† A gas denial to the textile industry would lead to heavy closures, a sector already inches away from bankruptcy. He said that 75 percent of textile industry in Punjab was exclusively dependent on gas supply to keep its wheel moving.

He grieved that the textile industry had no alternative but to switch over, as gas outages were rising. Gohar said that this gruesome energy situation is posing a serious threat to the industry viability. He urged the President, Prime Minister and Federal Petroleum Minister to ensure gas availability to textile industry in before quitting the government. APTMA said that domestic supply of gas could be the priority of the government but what about the jobs of textile workers. Arenít jobs of these workers priority of the government? He expressed apprehensions that closure of textile industry would result into more NPLs and more defaults in textile industry.

Courtesy: The Nation

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