Lahore [Pakistan], July 7 (ANI): Amid a heavy energy crisis in Pakistan and subsequent suspension of gas supply, 300 textile mills have been closed, said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir on Wednesday as he urged Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistani government to restore gas supply to the textile industry on an urgent basis.
Accompanied by Aptma North Zone Chief Hamid Zaman and Senior Vice-Chairman Kamran Arshad at a press conference, he stated that a 26 per cent upsurge in the export of textiles during the fiscal year 2021-22 was made possible only due to the supply of energy at a regionally competitive tariff, stressing that a loss of almost USD 1 billion in exports has already been incurred.
The exponential growth in the textile sector has promoted investment of over USD 5bn and the establishment of 100 new textile units, which, after becoming operational, would result in fetching additional exports of USD 6.0bn per annum, Dawn reported, quoting the Vice-Chairman.
Meanwhile, the APTMA Chairman, Nasir pointed out that gas supply to the industry was suspended for a week, almost halting production in the whole value-added industry and causing a massive loss to the economy which led to the large-scale closure of mills that ultimately resulted in massive layoffs and unemployment, spreading economic chaos.
As per the reports by Dawn, an incessant supply of gas for the industry to maintain momentum in exports is a necessary call that the Pakistan government is not paying heed as Mr Zaman stressed that the textile sector has repeatedly delivered on its commitment to enhancing exports and proven that they are a viable and long-term solution provider for the economic stability of the country.
He warned that more than 50pc of output would be lost this month, with a very high risk of permanent order loss and buyer diversion from Pakistan to its competitors and that the textile industry is currently producing goods for the upcoming Christmas, and any delay in the delivery schedule risks losing export markets for an indefinite period with little chance of recovery.
"If this momentum is lost due to energy supply and cost constraints, Pakistan will be forced to seek an additional USD 6bn in loans from abroad, which under the circumstances may not even be possible," he said, underlining the immediate restoration of gas supply to the export-oriented industry.
Highlighting the importance of the textile sector as the mainstay of the country's economy, Arshad said that textiles have a 61pc share in the country's exports and 40pc of manufacturing sector employment as the fragile economy of the country cannot sustain the consequences of the closure of mills in the wake of non-supply of gas.
Quetta, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad, Mirpurkhas and other cities in Pakistan are reportedly suffering from a gas shortage. Not only residents but owners of hotels and restaurants are also complaining of a gas shortage, as it is having an adverse impact on their business.
In Quetta and Gujranwala, the increased prices of LPG and wood, respectively, added to citizens' woes. The price of LPG per kg in Quetta has surged by Rs 70 per kg, resulting in its total price increasing to Rs 230 per kg. Moreover, the price of 40 kg of wood has soared to Rs 950 in Gujranwala. The country is in the grip of a severe gas crisis right now and whatever the reasons for it, it is proof of the incompetence and insensitivity of the energy ministry. And it must be solved as soon as humanly possible.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan government once again increased the petrol prices by PKR (Pakistani rupee) 14.84 per litre. After the recent hike, the new petrol price has been fixed at PKR 248.74 per litre, the Pakistan Finance Ministry announced.
While the kerosene oil price increased by PKR 18.83 and the rate of light-speed diesel has been jacked up by PKR 18.68 per litre. (ANI)