Textile units stay closed for 5th day in absence of gas

Energy supply was to resume on Monday after a four-day break.

Imran Rana April 01, 2013
According to the schedule put in place by Sui gas authorities, the industries were to be given gas from 6am Monday to 6am Thursday. PHOTO: FILE

FAISALABAD: Gas supply to Faisalabad industries could not be resumed on Monday after a four-day weekly break, prompting protests from industrialists who said suspension for long periods would exacerbate their problems and cause heavy financial losses.

In a statement, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Asghar Ali expressed concern over failure of the gas distributing company to restore supply to industries in the Faisalabad region as industrial production remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day.

According to the schedule put in place by Sui gas authorities, the industries were to be given gas from 6am Monday to 6am Thursday (three days in a week), but the company could not meet the schedule because of disruption in supply from Zamzama gas field, forcing all major manufacturing units to stay closed.

The company has announced a new schedule from next week, according to which industries will get gas for four days a week.

“Suspension of gas supply to industrial units is sheer injustice as this has badly hurt thousands of workers besides affecting production of goods,” Ali said.

He pointed out that gas outages for four days a week had already crippled industrial activities and more stoppages would bring activities to a grinding halt and badly hit the textile industry, the largest export sector of the country.

He sought priority status for the textile industry to revive economic activities in the country.

Ali blamed the government for failing to develop a long-term strategy to tackle energy crisis and said the textile industry had been suffering a huge loss of Rs200 billion each year for the last four years because of power and gas shortage.

Though the country produced good cotton crops in recent years, the energy shortage served as an obstacle to the consumption of the crop for producing value-added products, he said. Especially, export-focused manufacturing units were facing a host of problems as they had not been able to meet shipment deadlines.

This energy problem, he said, has pushed some textile units to relocate to Bangladesh, Turkey and Sri Lanka, which are enjoying tariff concessions, easy access to export markets and satisfactory energy supply. Easy availability of utilities, low prices for utility services as well as subsidies provided by competitor governments have put textile exports from Pakistan at a disadvantage.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.

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