ISLAMABAD, Jan 6 Federal Minister for Textile Industry Rana Farooq Saeed Khan said here on Tuesday that there would be no power or gas load-shedding for the textile and clothing sector by the end of the current month.

“It is government's priority to overcome gas and electricity shortages for the sector,” the minister told Dawn after his meetings with stakeholders, in which impact of gas and power load-shedding on textile sector export proceeds was reviewed.

He stated that a summary would soon be submitted to the federal cabinet for considering a package for the sector which would help arrest decline in exports.

Replying to a question, he said many proposals were being studied for increasing textile and clothing sector exports, and the sector's proceeds are expected to cross $10 billion.

These meetings were attended by the President of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), office- bearers of All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association, All-Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Associations, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers Exporters Association, Power Looms Association, Sizing Association and leading businessmen.

On the advice of the minister, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited representatives promised to provide 20 mmcfd each to textile units in Lahore and Faisalabad.

The SNGPL stated that due to a wide gulf between demand and supply during winter months, gas supply to domestic and industrial consumers is affected and shortage goes as higher as 500 mmcfd during the winter months.

The Pakistan Electric Power Company officials informed that Wapda is facing a shortage of 3,500 MW due to closure of canals. Pepco GM briefed the participants on the current situation and informed that the situation would improve by the end of current month due to re-start of Chashma Power Project.

The representatives of associations informed the minister that due to load-shedding of gas and electricity, textile and clothing sector was facing a crisis-like situation, which may lead to lay-offs. The sector provides jobs to around four million workers, they added.

In addition, the sector would not be able to meet export deadlines, which would tarnish country's image in the international market. Textile exports have already declined by six per cent during the first half of the current year, they said.

An official statement issued later said that the minister directed the authorities to exempt the textile sector from load-shedding, and if unavoidable, stakeholders be taken into confidence, and an agreed schedule be followed in letter and spirit.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf in a meeting with representatives of the FCCI said that the gas turbine power station in Faisalabad had started work and was generating 110 MW which had stabilised power supply position to textile sector in Faisalabad.

He said that unannounced load-shedding had almost been eliminated and Pepco had exempted 12 feeders of industrial areas of Faisalabad from load-shedding. The power generation was now improving and relief was being provided to the industry gradually, he said.

He said that the energy situation would improve further by Jan 31 on reopening of canals. He directed Pepco to work out a plan to provide further relief to the textile industry of Faisalabad.

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