LAHORE: The value-added textile industry should be given priority in the supply of energy, demanded the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) on Saturday.
The body cited the example of Bangladesh where the industry was given priority by the government, adding that Punjab is currently without adequate supply of gas.
PRGMEA Central Chairman Ijaz Khokhar said the government has allocated about 100 mmcfd gas to the entire industry, but currently facilitation is only provided to the spinners.
He urged the commerce ministry to focus on the apparel sector, which can potentially generate more foreign exchange, contribute to taxes and increase employment. Khokhar said the sector has potential to generate around $500 million through enhanced exports to the EU.
“The government, in a meeting with the stakeholders of the industry, had decided that priority will be given to the processing units in gas supply,” he said. “But the entire allocation has been hijacked by the spinning sector despite them having alternate resources for energy.”
The chief lamented that the garment industry in Punjab has become uncompetitive due to power load-shedding and suspension of gas supply, while other provinces have been provided with sufficient power.
“Increase in cost of production due to gas shortages, higher electricity tariff and incomplete sales tax refunds from the FBR have caused disruption for Punjab,” said the PRGMEA chief.
PRGMEA Vice Chairman Malik Naseer said oil prices at the international level have dropped by over 45% and the government needed to pass on further benefit to the consumer.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2015.