FAISALABAD - Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has strongly resented over the injudicious decision of gas suspension for industries in winters and termed the move unilateral and arrogant. Government should shelve its gas outage plan to bring the country’s economy out of stagnation as it would not only hamper the industrial growth, but would also put jobs of millions of workers at stake, besides adversely impacting the $13 billion plus exports.

Expressing great concern over the petroleum Minister’s statement, Sohail Pasha Chairman and Rizwan Riaz Saigal, Vice Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association said, in a statement here on Tuesday that gas curtailment in winters would push the textile industry to the wall that was already facing huge problems owing to the unviability in international and local markets. Government should stop unilateral policies and decisions and take stakeholders into the loop as country, at present, is going through a very serious economic crisis in terms of escalating cost of production, they said.

Government, on one side, is contemplating to increase targets for industrial growth and on the other side its harsh decisions are posing severe threats for achieving the said target. As a result of this anti industrial act, industries in Punjab, particularly textile export industry would nose-dive. They termed energy shortage as the prime cause of economic instability and decline in industrial growth as about 50 percent production capacity of textile industry is already dysfunctional due to energy shortage.

PTEA Chairman expressed that we have never witnessed the situation in history, as energy shortfall had totally been shifted to the industry. In $13 billion plus textile exports, Punjab is the major stakeholder with $6 billion share. Pointing out the declining trend in exports, Sohail Pasha explained that country exported goods worth $3432 million in July-August period of current fiscal against exports of $3825 million in same period of outgoing fiscal showing a decline of 10.27 percent.

Exports were consecutively showing declining trend since July and export numbers in coming months might be even worse as the textile industry in Punjab will be deprived of its basic fuels, he apprehended. At the moment when the industrial production and exports are registering negative growth and the industrialists are facing severe difficulties, gas suspension would leave us with no other option but to shut down their units. Even after looking at dismal performance on the export front, if the government even then resorts to cut gas supply to industry and manufacturing sector, exports would further fall and lesser foreign exchange would be earned. This would not only aggravate country’s balance of trade, but will also create fresh wave of job losses.

Vice Chairman Rizwan Riaz Saigal was of the view that at a time when all the neighboring countries are on path of rapid growth, the economic situation in Pakistan is getting out of hand. It would not the production loss alone but the loss of export orders has now become the order of the day and it is a known fact that foreign buyers are diverting their orders to the other regional countries. On time completion of an export order is a prerequisite to win any new order but unfortunately Pakistan’s export-oriented industry is unable to ensure on time delivery to their foreign buyers because of acute energy shortage, he added.

They called upon the Government to take serious cognizance of the matter and take progressive steps to endure the industry and focus should also be on the value addition as textile sector need to enhance quality and production capabilities. They urged to ensure gas supply to textile export sector in winter.