Aptma fears bankruptcies due to energy blues

Published August 6, 2014
The textile industry has been the mainstay of Pakistan economy having backward and forward linkages to create employment and growth opportunities. — File photo
The textile industry has been the mainstay of Pakistan economy having backward and forward linkages to create employment and growth opportunities. — File photo

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has apprehended large-scale bankruptcies in case energy security and affordability issues are not addressed on a war footing.

Serious energy supply constraints have already led to forced closures of production capacities to the extent of 40 to 50 per cent, said Aptma Central Chairman Yasin Siddik here on Tuesday.

The industry would also be unable to procure cotton crop already started arriving in the market if the issues were not addressed immediately, he said while urging the government to announce the Federal Textile Policy 2014-19 to enable the industry to overcome structural imbalances.

Sustainability and growth of textile industry was being marred by energy supply constraints and liquidity crunch, limiting industrial potential to operate on full scale. As a result, the textile industry exports witnessed dismal performance during the outgoing fiscal year, closing at $13.7 billion against $13 billion exports during the corresponding period.

It reflects poor performance of the textile industry, as the actual export target for the outgoing fiscal year was $16 billion, said the Aptma central chairman.

He asserted that a limited energy supply, both electricity and gas, to the Punjab-based textile mills that constitute 70 per cent of the total size of textile industry in Pakistan, has proven a major hurdle in smooth operations and steady growth of the industry.

Accordingly, he said, exports of both yarn and fabric registered 26 per cent and 35 per cent decline in quantity terms, respectively, during the last three months. It further triggered serious supply chain issues for value-added sector right from knitting to woven to the bed-linen, which consequently failed to avail the GSP Plus facility from the EU.

Under the given circumstances, Mr Siddik urged the government to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to industry and 250MMCFD gas supply to Punjab-based mills for in-house generation and consumption of 1,000MW electricity besides an expeditious processing and liquidation of sales tax refunds according to commitment of the federal finance minister in the budget speech.

The US government should also be pursued for market access facility in line with the GSP Plus facility from the EU, said the Aptma central chairman while urging Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to extend audience to the association delegation to get first-hand knowledge of issues confronting growth of the sector.

The textile industry has been the mainstay of Pakistan economy having backward and forward linkages to create employment and growth opportunities, he said.

farm inputs: Punjab Minister for Agriculture Dr Furrakh Javaid has said the subsidy on farm inputs will be disbursed in consultation with stakeholders.

“Of the Rs32 billion earmarked for the farm sector in the provincial budget, Rs14 billion will be disbursed as subsidy while taking farmers and other stakeholders on board,” the minister said at the inaugural ceremony of CAC Pakistan Summit and Pak-China Agro Chemical Expo at Lahore Expo Centre on Tuesday.

He said the Punjab government’s resolve to strengthen the agriculture sector could be judged from the fact that it had given a flat rate of Rs10.35 per unit for farm tube wells. The government was also striving to educate the farming community as research in agriculture would be useless if it did not reach the real farmer, the minister added.

Terming the CAC summit and exhibition a unique opportunity for Pakistan’s agriculturists to learn about Chinese expertise in agriculture sector, Dr Javaid said Chinese cooperation in all fields of economy was matchless.

Earlier, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sohail Lashari stressed the need for public-private dialogue as a prerequisite to revolutionise the agriculture sector that held the key to progress and prosperity.

“It is the only area where a little attention could do miracles as it does not need that amount of electricity required to run the industrial wheel,” he said while calling for construction of water reservoirs citing the shortage of ‘white oil’ could pose a serious threat to the sector in coming years.

“Unfortunately we are more focused on the black oil instead of taking care of our future generations that are likely to suffer because of water shortage,” he said.

Chinese Chemical Industry Sub-Council Vice Chairman Ma Chunyan said the trade of pesticide had an important role in the total two-way business of $12 billion. She said in 2013, pesticides amounting to $172 million were imported from China while import of fertiliser remained $309 million. She said Chinese seeds were equally popular in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2014

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