The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has announced to partially restore gas supply to the general industry which remained cut-off for almost three months with textile industry already getting supply for six hours a day.

Industry sources said that all industrial sectors except textile remained without gas supply for almost three months of winter, including steel, plastic, cement, pharma, paper, ceramic and electrical goods.

According to the SNGPL authorities, the industries of Lahore, Sheikhupura and Sahiwal would be provided gas for two days till Friday morning 6am. The industries of Bahawalpur, Gujranwala and Islamabad regions would be given gas for next 48 hours starting from Friday. The authorities said that the demand of gas by the domestic customers has decreased due to change of season. They said that gas supply of industries would be increased after March. They said that the gas supply to the industrial sector, excluding textile, was suspended in December 2014 due to gas shortage in winters.

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman said that textile industry, despite having top priority, is presently being supplied gas just for six hours a day, affecting its production volume seriously.

He said that the high cost of doing business in Pakistan and overvalued currency is already hampering textile exports by and large.

The cost of energy for textile industry in regionally competing countries is not more than 8 cents as against 13 cents in Pakistan. Besides the competitors are also enjoying government support on export, investment and production subsidies incentives across the region.

He said the textile exports are showing a stagnant trend during the ongoing financial year 2014-15. There is a serious decline in exports of basic textile around 30%, in particular, fabric in quantitative terms.

Adding further, he said free fall of Euro against Pak Rupee by over 21% in short span of 6 months has added fuel to the fire, as 35% of Pakistan’s textile exports are destined to the EU region. Erosion of competitiveness has nullified the benefits of GSP plus market access to European Union.

S M Tanveer said the textile exporters are facing troublesome situation as there proceed value has reduced fast due to the currency differential. The textile exporters need an urgent support to get out of messy situation, he added.

In order to minimise the impact of high cost of doing business in Pakistan, chairman APTMA said the comparatively high energy tariff and interest rates, coupled with liquidity constraints due to outstanding refunds claims of exporters requires speedy review, as the cost of doing business on account of these factors has hit hard exporting industry.

Therefore, he said, the government should support the industry by keeping currency at realistic value to mitigate the impact of high cost of doing business for maintaining competitive advantages.

Pakistan Steel Melters Association former chairman Mian Saeed welcomed the restoration of gas to industry.