KARACHI: Despite assurance from Prime Minister Imran Khan of uninterrupted gas and electricity supplies, the export-oriented textile industry is facing energy blackouts, said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Sindh-Balochistan Region Chairman Zahid Mazhar in a statement issued to mediapersons.
He said, “The low gas pressure is equivalent to having no gas at all and it is a 360-degree turn from the assurance given by the PM.”
It is also against the government’s policy of industrialisation and export-led growth as the textile industry is earning more than 60% of the foreign exchange through exports, he added.
He asked the government not to deprive the Sindh industry of its constitutional right to natural gas under Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Mazhar said Sindh is producing about 67% of system gas and consuming only 39% of the gas produced in the country, even then the province is denied its constitutional right.
He said the gas being produced in Sindh should at first be supplied to the province and the surplus gas should be later passed on to other provinces. “The textile industry is not only facing weekly closure of gas every Sunday, but is also enduring low gas pressure. This is resulting in heavy production losses and de-industrialisation.”
He said the low gas pressure is disturbing production lines, delaying exports and causing damage to the industry’s costly plants and equipment.
The regional chairman said the gas supply suspension to the Sindh-based industry, which accounts for 52% of the country’s total exports, is resulting in loss of foreign exchange and revenue.
He said the production of export-oriented industries has shrunk since the export sector has been compelled to work only six days a week instead of functioning round the clock.
In other countries, governments prioritise their export-oriented industry in the supply of gas and energy, whereas domestic and commercial sectors are provided with LPG or LNG. On the contrary, in Pakistan, the natural gas is being supplied to domestic and commercial sectors at the cost of industries, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2019.