Textile: Mills demand gas supply for 7 days a week

Protest against two-day gas outage plan.

Our Correspondent June 11, 2015
"Presently, the textile industry is passing through very difficult times with exports down almost 16% due to recessionary trends globally," Aptma Sindh-Balochistan Region Chairman Tariq Saud. CREATIVE COMMONS

KARACHI: Expressing dismay, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has opposed Sui Southern Gas Company’s (SSGC) decision to curtail gas supply to the industry for at least two days a week in Sindh.

In a statement, Aptma Sindh-Balochistan Region Chairman Tariq Saud said the regional chapter of the association had been asking the Ministry of Petroleum to direct SSGC to provide gas seven days a week to the industry.

He pointed out that as winter had passed and domestic gas consumption for heating purposes in interior Sindh was no longer required, supplies could be diverted to the industries.

“Our member mills have received notices that SSGC has decided to curtail the supply of gas in Sindh for at least two days a week.”

This has come as a surprise to the industry, which already remains closed on Sundays due to gas curtailment and will now have to bear further losses because of the midweek shutdown. Sindh produces 70% of gas in the country and consumes less than 40%. Article 158 of the Constitution (Priority Requirements of Natural Gas) says that the provinces producing natural resources have the first right of usage.

Saud stressed that the textile industry was passing through very difficult times with exports down almost 16% due to recessionary trends globally. “Our input costs have risen and it has become impossible to remain competitive.”

The industry fears further gas closures will lead to higher costs and result in large-scale closures and unemployment. Another major factor in the rising input cost is the levy of gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) on gas consumption.

Saud appealed to the prime minister to direct the ministries concerned not to go ahead with the gas curtailment plan and allow the industries to keep running in the larger national interest.

“We remain committed to working in the national interest and strive to increase investment, employment and exports, but for that we need a stable environment with gas and electricity so that we can keep moving forward.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th,  2015.

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