The government Thursday restored gas supply to the textile units in Punjab by suspending the gas-load management, while connections already closed are also being restored. The decision was taken by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar with the approval of Prime Minister after meeting with a delegation led by S M Tanveer, Chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).
However, a final decision on gas load-shedding for textile units would be taken after return of relevant ministers to the country. Earlier, the government had decided to suspend gas supply to CNG and industrial sectors of Punjab for four months starting November 15 to March 15, 2015 while the Petroleum Ministry had issued directives in this regard.
The delegation apprised the minister of the difficult situation faced by the textile units in Punjab due to shortage of gas, as the gas load-shedding plan had been implemented ahead of schedule. The Finance Minister with the approval of the Prime Minister conveyed instructions to the Secretary Petroleum & Natural Resources to suspend gas load-shedding plan. Instructions were also passed on to restore already closed connections. The visiting delegation said that suspension of gas supply from November till March would leave the textile industry starving, which will result in huge decline in export earnings. They further said that some units were only using electricity but the majority depends on gas to remain competitive with neighbouring countries and to avail GSP Plus facility.
The minister responded that the government was cognisant of the difficulties faced by the textile industry and stressed to find an amicable solution to the issue of gas shortage. He said while for now the gas load-shedding plan was suspended, a final decision would be taken after return of relevant ministers to the country. Minister for Commerce, Khurram Dastgir, Minister for Textile Abbas Khan Afridi and other senior officials attended the meeting.
Central Chairman APTMA S M Tanveer told Business Recorder that a high-level delegation representing the textile chain held a series of meetings with Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi and later to Finance Minister in Islamabad here Thursday. He further said that textile export worth $1.2 billion has already been lost following power and gas load-shedding.
The delegation apprised the government about the challenges being faced by the industry following energy crisis. He said the industry representatives proposed the government to provide 100 mmcfd (33 percent of the requirement) gas during the winter season to keep the industry operational. However, the Finance Minister said that a meeting will be held on Tuesday where minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, petroleum and natural resources Khaqan Abbasi (both are currently out of country), Abbas Khan Afridi Textile Minister, Khurram Dastgir Khan Commerce Minister and would be chaired by him. The Finance Minister assured the delegation that they would consider their proposal and would provide the best possible help in this regard to the industry, Tanveer added. He added that the gas suspension plan is a temporary decision and final decision would be taken on Tuesday in this regard. He said 70 percent of the textile industry was located in the province of Punjab where it was exposed to unprecedented gas and electricity supply cuts, adding 35 percent of the production capacity was already non-functional due to shutdown of one shift of basic textile industry which was an important part of the textile value chain, designed to operate 24/7 and energy intensive/dependent industry, he added.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT