LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association has warned of closing all its units in Punjab because of energy scarcity.

“Suspension of gas supply to textile industry in Punjab a day after announcement of Textile Policy 2015-19 has put a question mark on its credibility,” Aptma Chairman SM Tanveer said at a news conference here on Wednesday.

The policy promised regular supply of gas and power to the whole textile sector in Punjab.

“However, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd has conveyed that there will be no gas for the industry for the next 30 days,” he said and added the Punjab-based textile industry operations were already facing difficulties due to short supply of electricity at high cost.

“Majority of workers is jobless in Faisalabad which is the textile hub of the country. High power cost has eroded the competitiveness of textile sector of Pakistan. Fabric exports have already declined by 50 per cent in one year and the yarn sales are even doubtful as Indian yarn is making swift inroads into the Pakistani domestic market,” said Mr Tanveer.

Terming the Rs40 billion allocations for four years in the textile policy for facilitating exports inadequate, he said the Indian government reserved $40 billion for its textile sector.

“Under the present circumstances, the target of doubling textile exports to $26 billion in five years will be an uphill task. We will be lucky if we manage to maintain the current level of $13 billion exports by 2019.

“There is nothing for the spinners in the new textile policy. We do not need any facilitation but want round-the-clock energy supply at regionally competitive rates on all week days,” he said while regretting that the government had withheld sales tax refunds worth Rs42 billion of the entire textile chain.

He said the prime minister had assured the textile sector regular gas supplies for at least eight hours a day. “If the word of the prime minister is not honoured whom should we trust for implementation of official policies,” he said and added that the industry was bleeding but trying to operate on the promises of the planners that things would improve.

Published in Dawn February 12th , 2015

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