Load-shedding: Industry laments three-month gas curtailment plan

Textile sector issues joint statement demanding government action.

Imran Rana November 26, 2013
Severe shortage of gas would plunge the textile exports into disaster, said PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood. PHOTO: FILE

FAISALABAD: The textile industry is up in arms over the upcoming three-month gas supply cut that will force some factories – without power generation capacity – to close down. Industrialists have been concerned over the power cuts at the advent of the holiday season, which usually sees a spike in export orders.

Addressing a joint press conference of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA), All Pakistan Textile Sizing Association (APTSA), Khurrianwala Industrial Estate Association (KIEA) and the Loom Owners Association here on Tuesday, PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood criticised the lengthy gas supply cut, terming it an industry closure plan.

Severe shortage of gas would plunge the textile exports into disaster, said Mahmood, adding that it is likely to impact over 450 industrial units and millions of workers to result in ‘industrial unrest’.

He called on the government to ensure adequate gas supply for the textile industry, arguing that a textile mill can only function viably if it remains operational round the clock throughout the year.

He said that around 80% of the textile industries are located in Punjab, employing 15 million people and, by neglecting them, the government is overlooking a major part of the country’s industry.

“We fear a massive cut in our export targets due to the present crisis,” said Mahmood. “The government needs to show political will to keep the industry moving forward and protect thousands of textile workers from losing jobs.”

The chairman blamed the gas shedding to ‘mismanagement, lack of appropriate planning, irresponsibility and inefficiency of the management and administration of the utility service suppliers’.

“Gas supply to textile industry reduced from 302 days in 2008 to 114 days in 2013. With proper consultation and by taking the stakeholders and industrial consumers in confidence, a viable management and revolving schedule of gas supply could be worked out and the period of acute shortage could be tied over through mutual arrangement.

“Pakistan is in dire need of enhancing exports to provide some cushion to its sagging economy.”

The PTEA urged the government to take notice and intervene to reverse the industrial gas supply cut, enabling the industrial wheel moving forward and exporters to fulfill their commitments with foreign buyers. The failure of keeping commitments would lose not only much-needed foreign exchange but also lose export markets, added the PTEA.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2013.

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