LAHORE -   The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) is discriminating in provision of gas to the provincial textile industry, as some major industrial textile units are getting gas at around Rs600 per mmbtu, while rest of the units are being provided very expensive RLNG-mixed gas for around Rs950 per mmbtu.

This was stated by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Central Chairman Aamir Fayyaz Sheikh, while responding to a question during a press conference held here on Tuesday. He was asked that some big textile companies including Nishat Textiles are being provided gas supply at cheaper rates as compared to other companies within the province.

Fayyaz said that cost of energy in Punjab is already very high if compared to other provinces. An average mill of 25,000 spindles loses at least Rs1,200 million annually due to this cost difference. He said the regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) to the Punjab textile industry is 45 percent more expensive as compared to the industry in other provinces.

He further pointed out that the electricity generation cost for PEPCO is Rs. 4.75/KWh for October 2016, while it is being provided to the industry at Rs11/KWh. “This hefty charge includes line losses and theft surcharges. Textile Industry, being export-oriented, cannot pass on these charges to its international buyers,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured to provide export-led growth policy without further delay which is still awaited. APTMA Punjab Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan said that it is ironic that availability of competitive energy tariffs, both electricity and RLNG, is not part of the package. The differential in energy cost is widening day by day within the country due to which its become difficult for the industry to compete internationally, he added.

He said the Punjab government growth strategy envisages 15 percent annual growth in exports, 8 percent in GDP and investment worth $17 billion by 2018. It is high time for the government to enable the provincial textile industry to perform and achieve the goals set by the government, he added.

He said the import of yarns and fabrics has reached to $3.2 billion, which is hurting the domestic industry by and large. This is mainly due to high cost of doing business in the country, he added. He said that ever increasing cost of doing business is rendering our exports unviable. He said the overall exports have reduced from $25.1 billion to $19.5 billion in last two years. Similarly, the textile exports have also dropped from $13.8 billion to $11.6 billion during the same period, he added.

According to the APTMA leadership, as many as 70 spinning mills have been closed down in the province during the last two years, particularly due to high cost of doing business that has hit hard around two million spindles while rendering work force of 150,000 (direct/indirect) unemployed. The APTMA leadership has also urged the government to protect domestic market from dumped and subsidised imports of yarns and fabrics from India, China and Far East.