Textile millers oppose diversion of gas to other sectors, fear closure of units

Textile millers oppose diversion of gas to other sectors, fear closure of units


APTMA appeals to the prime minister and all concerned authorities to take stock of the situation

LAHORE (Web Desk) - All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has feared closure of export oriented units in case of curtailment of gas supply to the textile industry.

Referring to media reports that the federal government was considering allocation of 110 MMCFD gas to a sector, the association's north zone chairman, Hamid Zaman said any endeavour to curtail supply of gas to export industry to divert to any other sector would tantamount to signing of death warrants of textile industry in the country, especially in Punjab.

He added textile industry in Punjab was already facing a crisis like situation due to multiple factors, including stagnant demand in the international market, drastic plunge in cotton production to 4.5 million bales against a demand of 15 million bales, inordinate delay in retirement of Letters of Credit (LCs) documents, doubling the electricity tariff from Rs19.99 to more than Rs40/kWh, blockage of tax refunds and non-availability of working capital to keep the industry operational.

Zaman said the industry was already struggling hard to save millions of jobs in the province, facing a direct threat after an unprecedented increase in electricity tariff.

The government, instead of strengthening the industry efforts to sustain operations, has started considering curtailment of gas supply to the textile units, which is fraught with risks of severe impairment to the country’s economy especially plummeting foreign exchange proceeds.

The APTMA office-bearer said gas is being used by textile industry for multiple purposes including generation of electricity, processing, steam and heating. Any cut in gas supply due to its diversion to other sectors would put last nail in textile industry’s coffin once and for all.

Zaman said that textile industry has invested $3 billion over the last three years with the intent to take the textile industry exports to $50 billion in the next few years. "Also, the industry has a plan to install 1000 garment units to create some seven million jobs and all such initiatives would remain unmet in case the government fails to ensure both availability and affordability of energy to the industry."

He continued that the growth of textile industry has already been hampered badly and the overall textile exports have fallen by 28% during the month of February 2023 while there was a fall of more than 11% during the first eight months of the current fiscal as compared with the corresponding period of the last year and translation of any dream of diverting gas of textile industry to any other sector including fertilizer would lead to massive closure of export units.

The APTMA chief expressed the hope that sanity would prevail in the government circles and no such step would be taken which may curtail supply of gas to export industry in the country.

He appealed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and all concerned authorities to take stock of the situation and urged them to continue supply of gas to export industry incessantly as per their sanctioned load to save the export industry from a permanent closure, protect jobs of millions of textile workers across the country and stop bleeding of foreign exchange proceeds in the wake of partial or complete closure of textile industry.