FAISALABAD - The textile exporters have welcomed the Petroleum Ministry recommendation regarding a 50 per cent reduction in gas infrastructure development surcharge (GIDS) and termed it a timely move which will help cut the cost of production of exportable goods.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Rana Arif Touseef stated this while talking to newsmen here on Friday.

Commenting on the Petroleum Ministry's summery to the government for a 50% cut in gas infrastructure development surcharge, he said that textile industry was the only hope for the revival of country's economy which was currently jolted by the high cost of doing business. Textile industry has been facing strong competition at international markets from regional competitors where energy cost is lower and manufacturers are also enjoying special exemption.

High gas tariff in Pakistan have affected textile exports and left a bad impact on the value-added textiles sector, due to which textile exports have declined to $12.35 billion in fiscal 2011-12 against $13.78 billion in the same period last year. He said that energy shortage was the prime cause of decline in exports because 40 percent of production capacity of textile industry was dysfunctional due to short supply of gas.

Rana Arif said that textile sector was the backbone of national economy that needs to be further strengthened by adopting investor-friendly policies and ensuring unremitting gas supply to export oriented industries. He urged the government to provide smooth electricity and gas supply to the textile industry in the larger interest of the industry and textile exports as country has already missed the export target of $26 billion and hardly reach the mark of $23.64 billion at the end of FY2011-12, he maintained. He was of the view that another reason for high production cost of textile is the ever increasing interest rate, double digit inflation and continuous devaluation of rupee. It is becoming unviable for the textile manufacturers to continue with their operations under the unbearable energy costs and continuous gas outages, he added.

The PTEA chairman called on the government to take serious steps to boost textile industry and focus should also be on the value addition as textile sector need to enhance quality and production capabilities. Government needs to immediately address the key issue of energy shortage on priority basis to stop the negative growth in textile exports and improve the fragile foreign investment condition to put the country on the track of economic growth and development, he said. Pakistan exports mostly depend on textile and without resolving energy shortage, country's export will not grow as targeted, he added.

Rana Arif said that trade and industry was passing through a rough patch while the coming months also don't look encouraging for business activities as growing energy shortage and rising cost of doing business will dampen the productivity of manufacturers and industrialists.

PDBP celebrates 2000 biogas plants: To improve the livelihood of rural farmers, RSPN's Pakistan Domestic Biogas Programme (PDBP) completed the construction of 2000 biogas plants. On the occasion a cake cutting ceremony was arranged at the PDBP office. Programme Manager Sajjad Haider, Area Manager Rana Amir Shafique and all PDBP staff were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Sajjad Haider said that PDBP was playing a vital role to promote biogas in Pakistan. The programme was initiated in 2009 with the financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN). The programme is being executed in 12 districts namely Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot, Sargodha, Toba Tek Singh, Khushab, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Sheikhupura, Nankana, and Gujranwala.

He added that completion of this project, which has already trained over 250 individuals and helped develop over 26 Biogas Construction Companies, will help in provision of soot-free fuel to meet domestic fuel needs, provision of neat and clean atmosphere since each biogas plant saves well over 2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, as well as protection from eye infections and respiratory diseases for the users.