LAHORE - The government should introduce special power tariff for textile industry which must be regionally competitive, besides providing it uninterrupted gas and electricity to reap the benefits of the GSP Plus facility provided by the EU.

This was stated by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Punjab chairman SM Tanveer while addressing a meeting called to review the prospects of industry in current severe power loadshedding in Punjab.  How the industry would remain competitive at such a high price of electricity, which is one of the basic industrial raw materials, he put the question. “We have the highest tariff in our region as in India, the electricity tariff for industry is 10.5 cents, in Bangladesh 10.75 cents and in Sri Lanka it is again 10.75 cents, whereas in Pakistan the tariff is 15 cents, meaning that 45 percent higher as compared to the region.”

“With this massive and unprecedented high power tariff, we will have double the tariff of electricity what the regional countries are offering to their trade and industries, leaving Pakistan totally uncompetitive and unviable in the international market, he said. SM Tanveer said that the country had already lost a number of international markets to China, Bangladesh and India due to high cost of doing business.”

APTMA Punjab leader said due to severe load shedding losses of the textile industry are unbearable and the cost of production has increased manifold as compared to the competitors in the region.  The viability of the industry will be totally eroded in case the government fails to resolve energy-related matters. There is an urgent need of prioritisation so far as energy supply to the industry is concerned, he added.

About one million spindles shut operations across the country due to severe load shedding of electricity and gas that increased the cost of production of textile industry manifold, he claimed.  He informed that during last few months, some, about 375,000 spindles have stopped operation in Lahore and Faisalabad, some 312,000 in Multan and 158,000 in Rawalpindi due to energy crisis and higher cost of doing business.

 He said production of more than 100 spinning mills have been reduced in Punjab as the industry is operating only in one shift because of severe power breakdowns. He added that the mills management is being forced to close down second shift after increase in loadshedding to 10 hours.

Around 10 million workers are attached with the textile industry directly and indirectly and 70 percent of the industry is located in Punjab, which is already bearing the brunt of severe energy crisis. The government should ensure energy supply, both electricity and gas, to the textile industry to avert the situation fast leading to massive unemployment, SM Tanveer urged.