FAISALABAD - Textile owners and exporters have condemned the proposed 12 percent further increase in electricity tariff and termed it an additional burden on manufacturers.

They were of the view that the raise would ultimately increase the cost of Pakistani goods in the international market. Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Rana Arif Tauseef said that the textile industry in Faisalabad was already reeling under the excessive rates of electricity and the millers and workers were protesting against the extra surcharge and fuel adjustment surcharges.

And, he added, the government instead of reducing the burden on the industrialists would further increased power tariff by 12 percent. “The sudden increase just 24 days before the presentation of budget was tantamount to hoodwinking the people and white lie that the budget will be tax free,” he said. “When the taxes are being imposed before the announcement of the budget how the budget could be termed tax free?”

The PTEA chairman said that the textile industry was being subjected to a systematic and intentional destructive process through excessive tariff and severe loadshedding. Expounding his arguments, he said that the rates of electricity charges were being raised intermittently and additional charges and surcharges in the names of fuel adjustment and equalization were being added to electricity bills. However, he said, 12 hours loadshedding was being carried out in industries thereby paralysing the industry and forcing closure of manufacturing units. To add insult to injury, favouritism was being practiced in equalisation surcharge by charging double (4%) in the Punjab against 2% in other provinces, he said and that these measures clearly indicate that the government was hell bent on destroying the textile industry of Faisalabad.

The PTEA chief warned the government that the textile industry in Faisalabad with more than 3 million labourers, daily wagers and thousands of allied supply chain businessmen would take to the streets. He said the workers, labourers and industrialists were already on the brink and staging protest demonstrations. He warned that if the government failed to redress the grievances, the unrest would explode with unpleasant consequences. He said that it was the need of hour that the government should focus on exploiting cheap and alternative energy resources for providing uninterrupted power supply to the industry at affordable prices so that industrialists could improve productivity and promote exports.

He said, “Pakistan is a very blessed country because solar energy is available in most of the cities in the country throughout the year. Similarly wind energy is readily available in the coastal areas,” he said. He urged the government to do proper planning for exploiting these cheap energy sources instead of depending on the energy being produced from fuel.

He urged the government to take immediate steps for tackling energy crisis, reducing high production cost and improving business environment. Otherwise, he warned, the industrial sector would not be able to promote business and industry for ensuring sustainable development of economy.