Businessmen demand uninterrupted gas supply

Fear Pakistan’s exports will suffer if gas shortage persists


Our Correspondent June 22, 2021

KARACHI:

Businessmen of Karachi have called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to ensure continued gas supply to the industries.

For the past one week, the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) had been suffering from low gas pressure as well as load-shedding, said a source in the industry.

In a statement on Monday, SITE Association of Industry President Abdul Hadi appealed to PM Khan to order SSGC to restore gas supply to the SITE industries.

“If the gas supply issue persists, the industrialists will be forced to shift their factories to other areas of the city,” he said.

He protested against the delay in restoration of gas supply to the industries of SITE area after the two-day shutdown.

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Earlier, SSGC had notified the businessmen about suspending gas supply for two days, however, it failed to resume supplies after the end of that time period, Hadi said.

“Suspension of production activities has placed export orders under jeopardy and large-scale orders are likely to be cancelled,” Hadi said while expressing fear.

“Exporters are anxious to ship old export orders abroad in a bid to secure new ones, however, due to the gas supply issue, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill current orders,” he said.

He regretted that the exporters might not be able to secure new orders, adding that the continuation of the problem would dent exports of the country.

“If basic needs of industries are not met, the country’s exports can fall from $22 billion to $17 billion,” he pointed out. “Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision cannot be fulfilled unless raw material needs of the industries are met.”

Giving the example of Bangladesh, he said that Dhaka’s exports stood at $54 billion while Pakistan’s exports stood around the same level for the past few years.

Officials of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) also confirmed that there was a drop in gas pressure in supplies to industries of the region.

When contacted, an SSGC official said that the Kunnar Pasakhi Deep-Tando Allah Yar (KPD-TAY) gas field was on an annual turnaround (ATA) due to which the company was receiving a lower quantity of gas.

“Therefore, industrial areas of Karachi are facing gas issues,” he said. “SSGC is a supplier and distributor of gas and not a producer, hence the company is compelled to supply what it receives.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2021.

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