Lahore  - The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) on Saturday demanded the govt to prioritize value-added textile industry in energy supply on the patron of Bangladesh, as the garment industry is presently without gas in Punjab.

Prgmea Central Chairman Ijaz Khokhar said that the government has allocated about 100 MMCFD gas to the entire export-oriented industry but now the spinners are being facilitated only.

He requested MoC to keep focus on apparel industry which can generate foreign exchange, contribute to local taxes and generate employment, he added. He said if the government resolves all issues the apparel sector alone can generate $500 million by enhancing its exports to the EU.  He said that govt in a meeting with the stakeholders had decided that gas supply will be supplied to the processing units as priority number one but the entire allocation has been hijacked by spinning sector despite the fact that they have alternate energy resource.

Ijaz khokhar said that the garment industry in Punjab is becoming uncompetitive within Pakistan due to prolonged power load shedding and complete gas supply suspension, while there is smooth gas and power supply in other provinces.

Khokhar said the value-added textile industry in Punjab is facing problems because of the increasing cost of production due to gas shortages, higher electricity tariff, and amounts stuck up with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in sales tax refunds.

PRGMEA VC Malik Naseer urged the Government to provide a level playing industry for the Punjab-based clothing industry by providing greater gas and power supply, which will help exporters reduce their energy costs, and by releasing the amounts stuck up in sales tax refunds.

He further requested the Government to refrain from any further hike in gas charges.

He also criticised the government’s move of increasing General Sales Tax (GST) on petroleum products from 17 percent to 22 percent cutting relief for consumers of an estimated five billion rupees.

He said that oil prices at international level have dropped by over 45 percent but the government has not passed on this benefit to the consumers as just 20 percent cut has been announced so far. “When the rates go upward government makes Ogra responsible for this hike and refuse to interfere but now the authorities are interfering and have become hurdle to facilitate public.