Import gas before economy derails: industrialists

Exporters advise govt to take remedial action or risk downturn.


Imran Rana August 03, 2012

FAISALABAD: Textile exporters have recommended to the government to import gas immediately to bridge the demand-supply gap to keep the wheel of the economy rotating. The call was made at a joint meeting of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) and the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) held on Friday.

Uninterrupted and adequate supply of gas is crucial for the textile industry to fuel its production divisions, they said. Furthermore, gas was also an alternate energy source for the sector in the absence of electricity and acts as a mundane fuel for production, they added.

Participants were of the opinion that the shortage of gas even before the onset of winter was surprising and a serious matter. If the gas supply position is as bad as conceded by the relevant authorities then an alternate arrangement of satisfying the demand through imports should be urgently taken in hand, millers added.

As result of the shortage, the industry was also suffering productivity losses due to large numbers of workers rendered redundant. Unemployment was creating unrest among the wage earners and leading to worsening law and order situation, it was said.

The exporters pointed out that frequent load-shedding and gas shortages have adversely affected the manufacturing process and it was difficult to honour their export commitments. Consequently, the foreign buyers were dismayed and were diverting their export orders to regional rivals.

PTEA Chairman Rana Arif emphasised that the government must set priorities for uninterrupted gas supply to save the economy from stalling. Massive gas reserves discovered were waiting to be exploited, government should execute these projects on a priority basis to bridge the rising demand-supply gap, he said.

Machinery worth billions of dollars is gathering dust owing to prolonged hours of load-shedding of electricity and gas supply. Energy supply and economic growth were interlinked and gas suspension had slowed down the pace of industrial growth in the country, he added.

Present trade and industrial conditions of Pakistan are the worst in its history and if remedial measures are not taken, the situation will spiral out of control, he feared.

The exporters urged the government to speed up its efforts to overcome energy crisis.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.

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