LAHORE   -   The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Adil Basheer has sought uniform energy price across the country to restore viability to boost exports and create sustainable jobs in the country.

He was addressing a hurriedly-called press conference at the APTMA Punjab office on Friday. Syed Ali Ahsan was also present on the occasion.

He said the industry is already facing liquidity crunch leading to closure of 100 mills and more are on the verge of closure due to the prevailing uncertainty. Already, the FBR has withheld Rs200 billion refunds of the industry.

He said the SNGPL has billed the industry the notified price of RLNG at $12.5389/MMBTU instead of $6.5/MMBTU for the month of October 2018. The industry cannot pay the hefty amount of bills and has serious liquidity constraints as millions of refunds of industry are stuck with government under DLTL, sales tax and other textile policies/schemes. He further pointed out that $6.5/MMBTU is not inclusive of GIDC.

He said the industry has consumed the allocated volume of gas (185 MMCFD) in October in order to maximize production to generate exportable surplus upon the assurance of federal finance minister.

He has urged the government to issue directions to SNGPL for issuance of revised gas bills of October 2018 (and thereon) to the eligible industry @ $6.5/MMBTU all inclusive on gas consumption for both captive and processing use.

He pointed out that these directions would be in line with the decision of ECC meeting dated September 17, 2018, which needed to be implemented in letter and spirit. He demanded immediate issuance of notification for providing electricity to export industry at cents 7.5/kWh.

He said the exporting industry hardly meet its in-house energy requirements through captive power generation and cannot rely on grid electricity due to quality issues and frequent interruptions which disrupt the sensitive processes of the industry and loss of production.

He stressed that only export led growth policy would be the way forward to enable industry to increase production and undertake new investment decisions for technology upgradation and value addition, which would not only generate exportable surplus but also new sustainable jobs.

He warned that the industry will close down its operations if the government is not interested in providing enabling environment to industry to maximize their production to generate exportable surplus. There is a market slow down due to uncertainty and the new government is keen to reduce current trade deficit which can only be done by enabling exporting industry to function at their full potential.