The Punjab based textile industry needs immediate attention of the government, as continuity of the industry wheel can be the only way forward of growth, employment and exports of country for which both energy affordability and security must be ensured at all costs.
The industry due to the prevailing political uncertainty amidst unprecedented electricity load shedding and repeated gas supply suspensions to the mills is going under serious threat of continued existence. Hence, the Punjab based textile industry circles have urged the government to focus on the resurgence of productivity once prevailing uncertainty comes to an end.
The Chairman APTMA Punjab had earlier pointed out in pre-long march scenario that the industry was losing 26 million dollars per day due to the political deadlock. He had made it clear that the industry was not in favour of aligning with any sort of agitation despite rising frustration on the part of textile millers, workers and other stakeholders.
The industry circles are hopeful that the government would initiate damage control activities soon after the uncertainty is over. Otherwise, it would only lead to further closures, lay-offs and exports. It is in the larger interest of cotton farmers and the textile workers that the government should kick off revival operation of the Punjab-based textile industry.
According to industry circles, the Punjab textile industry is paying the cost of the prevailing uncertainty in terms in terms of energy shortage and high cost of available electricity and gas. Further, the road blockades are causing losses and withholding of containers has affected the dispatch of export consignments. The foreign buyers are looking towards Pakistan with shattered confidence due to 14 hours a day electricity load shedding and 12 hours a day gas supply suspension. The energy cost has also increased manifold, as net cost of electricity has risen to 67 percent and the net cost of gas has jumped by 37 percent over the last one year, they added.
The Punjab textile industry shares eight percent in the country's GDP, as 70 percent of total textile capacity is located in Punjab with 10 million direct and indirect workforces. Meanwhile, the banking industry is extending capital at a higher cost of 14 percent and more than 40 percent production capacity has been impaired and exports of basic textile have witnessed decline.
No fresh investment and industrialization is taking place, in fact about 100 mills have closed down operations and the remaining ones are running their operations partially. Relocation of industrial units is on the cards. The government should exempt mills from load shedding having no alternate source of energy till the provision of gas connections.
The government should allocate additional 200MMCFD gas for generation for 1000MW electricity through in-house CPPs to revive the Punjab based industry
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