KARACHI: Value-added textile sector has claimed that gas is being provided for only eight hours despite the government’s decision to exempt the export sector from gas load-shedding.

Mohammad Jawed Bilwani, chief coordinator of the Value-Added Textile Forum, in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, said that the gas supply to export industries of Karachi, which contributes over 50 per cent to the nation’s total exports, has further aggravated.

It is unfortunate that the situation is getting worse every passing day and causing delays in export shipments as zero-gas for 16 hours daily disrupts production, with the result that exporters fail to meet their commitments in time, he added.

He said several exporters of Karachi have only RLNG connections and are paying $15.67 per mmBtu. Even on this excessive tariff, the required gas is only available for eight hours daily from 11:00pm to 7:00a.m.

The foreign buyers have been inquiring about their deliveries in the wake of the gas crisis to avoid delays demanding their shipments by air, which is 800pc costlier than by sea, he said, adding the buyers have also communicated that if exporters are not able to achieve the delivery date, they would have to shift orders from Pakistan back to India and Sri Lanka.

Mr Bilwani said exporters also met the SSGC managing director who informed that the gas supply/pressure position would be more worsening in the coming days.

He further said that PSO has discontinued the supply of furnace oil and diesel to the exporters of Karachi as Pakistan Refinery Ltd (PRL) temporarily had shut down its production because of operational and storage constraints and other oil companies are also not providing furnace oil and diesel as Department of Explosives has failed almost all the export factories which are fully compliant, has in-house fire safety system and exporting to the world, he said.

Mr Bilwani urged the prime minister to direct the Ministry of Energy to ensure gas supply 24/7 with adequate pressure to the export industries of Karachi to fulfill their export commitments in time, retain future orders, and save the industries from losses and closures.

Meanwhile, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) acting president Farrukh Qandhari has rejected the removal of Rs343 billion tax exemptions and an increase in taxes. He also expressed concern over the rise in prices of petroleum products.

He said the mini-budget would not only destroy the industry but also increase the burden on the people. He said that instead of expanding the tax net, the government was increasing the burden on the existing taxpayers who were already paying more than they can afford.

Mr Farukh said the increase in petroleum price would further trigger food inflation.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2022

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