Gas pressure in Faisalabad industries has dropped to zero, leading to closure of all textile manufacturing units which have got notices of an indefinite suspension of gas supply.
Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Rana Arif Tauseef, while speaking at a press conference here on Tuesday, said the indefinite gas closure notices came just three days after a meeting between textile exporters and Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain, during which the minister assured them of continuous gas supply for four days a week to export industries.
Faisalabad industries employed more than one million people and if the energy crisis was not resolved, it would be difficult to pay salaries to them, he said. “In the current situation, no industry can survive.”
Textile exporters of the country had invested $17 billion while annual income from textile exports was about $14 billion, he said and added the industry had the potential to earn $25 billion if the energy crisis was resolved, interest rates reduced and law and order improved.
Tauseef sought a meeting between textile exporters and the government to resolve the issue. After residential consumers, he called for giving priority in gas supply to textile exporters and even offered a high gas tariff if uninterrupted supply with full pressure was ensured.
He also suggested that exporters should be separated from the general industry in the gas suspension plan.
Responding to a question, Tauseef said world’s biggest textile fair, Heimtextil, which is organised in Germany every year, is scheduled to be held next month but textile exporters were in a quandary as to how they would honour export commitments if they got sufficient orders.
“If the government does not respond, textile exporters have the option to stop paying gas bills,” he said, adding exporters would make payments to the associations concerned, which would release the money to the gas company if negotiations proved successful. As a mark of protest, the textile exporters later burnt gas bills.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2011.