LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab chapter held an emergency general body meeting at its office to discuss and formulate a strategy for restoring viability of the textile industry and press the case for uniform energy prices across the country.
Members of Faisalabad and Multan zones also participated in the deliberations through video link.
In a unanimously passed resolution, Aptma members praised Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for his support to ending the disparity in gas prices in Punjab in relation to other provinces.
Aptma Punjab Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan said a huge disparity of Rs530 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) was about to render the textile industry uncompetitive in Punjab compared to mills located in other parts of the country.
This was due to the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) earlier decision of reducing the natural gas price for the general industry from Rs600 per mmbtu to Rs400 per mmbtu.
The reduced rate would not have benefitted the industry in Punjab. The ECC withdrew the tariff reduction after two weeks.
Ahsan said there was still disparity in energy prices within the country and to overcome the problem a uniform tariff should be introduced across the country.
“The Punjab-based export-oriented textile industry was unable to pass on surcharges in a highly competitive environment in and around the country,” he remarked.
He suggested that natural gas and re-gasified LNG prices should be rationalised and brought at the same level for industries across the country in line with regional competitors.
He demanded the issuance of a notification of the Nepra-determined electricity tariff for the industry without any additional surcharges and levies at the regionally competitive rate of Rs7 per kilowatt-hour.
Ahsan voiced hope that the federal government would announce a comprehensive textile package to bring down the high cost of doing business in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2016.
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