FAISALABAD: The textile industry should be given top priority in gas supply because of it being the mainstay of national economy, said Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Asghar Ali.
Gas supply to other sectors could be the priority of the government, but what about the industry that contributes $1 billion to the gross domestic product monthly and provides jobs to millions of workers, he asked in a statement.
Current economic situation demands that the government take steps to save millions of jobs to keep the wheels of industry running. There could be thousands of alternatives to domestic and compressed natural gas (CNG) needs, but there was no alternative to jobs and investment, he added.
He said that uninterrupted and adequate supply of gas was crucial for the textile industry to fuel its production divisions.
The textile industry suffered production suspension, diminished exports and falling employment due to 180 days of gas suspension in the preceding year. Exports suffered on account of 30% decrease in industry’s capacity, he added.
Elaborating, he said that textile exports stood at $12.356 billion in 2011-12 against $13.788 billion in the same period of previous year, registering a decline of $1.432 billion mainly due to the energy crisis.
Energy supply and economic growth were interlinked and gas suspension was hampering the pace of industrial growth in the country.
PTEA Vice Chairman Muhammad Asif 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, so the government should execute these projects on a priority basis to bridge the rising demand-supply gap, he said.
In Textile Policy 2009-14, an export target of $25 billion was set for 2014. To achieve this target, the Ministry of Textile Industry proposed various short to long-term initiatives including provision of gas and electricity on a priority basis.
However, the government failed to provide these facilities, which adversely affected exports and targets remained unachievable, he added.
PTEA urged the government to speed up efforts to overcome the energy crisis. It said that Pakistan exports mostly depend on textile and without overcoming the energy shortage, exports will not grow as targeted.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.
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