LAHORE  - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association on Monday urged the government to give priority to the Industrial sector in the supply of gas.

LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that it is a welcome sign that the government has decided to restore gas to the CNG sector but it would have been wiser if the priority is attached to the sector that not only generates revenues for the government but also provides jobs to the millions of workers.

He said that the government needs to review its decision regarding the provision of gas as all over the world the priority is given to the industry that earns revenues and creates jobs but unfortunately the situation in Pakistan was the other way round.

Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer demanded uninterrupted gas supply to the Punjab-based textile industry in order to stop closure of mills and ultimately large-scale unemployment in the province. He urged the government to save Punjab-based textile industry without delay.

On the contrary, he said, the textile industry in other provinces is getting 24/7 gas supply and the widening disparity of the Punjab-based textile industry against other provinces is inflicting Rs72 billion per annum as an additional cost. This situation is resulting into large scale closure of textile mills in Punjab, he added.

He said the Punjab-based textile industry is confronted with a serious challenge of sustainability on account of energy shortage, particularly gas supply , which is not being provided with as per requirement.

He said continuity of mills operations during the outgoing winter has yielded additional exports worth $180 million during first two months of the calendar year. He said the winter season has come to an end and summer has set in, therefore, the Punjab-based textile industry expects diversion of additional gas available from space and water heating.

He urged the government to ensure 24/7 uninterrupted gas supply to the Punjab-based textile mills in line with other provinces so as to realize maximum benefit of market access facility from the EU.

He said that the country’s economy at the moment was in dire need of some kind of stimulus and if the priority is given to it in the provision of gas it would only strengthen the economic indicators but would also help avail GSP plus status in a winsome manner.

Engineer Sohail Lashari said that a number of manufacturing units had already shifted their operations to the neighboring countries losing trust in the will of the government to provide facilitation to the industry and because of comparatively lower cost of doing business therefore it is the high time to bring them back by providing gas to the domestic industry.