FAISALABAD

The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has expressed grave concern over sudden suspension of gas supply to industries on account of annual maintenance and repair to gas fields. The textile exporters termed the SNGPL’s move unilateral and arrogant and expressed the fear that the gas curtailment will lead to huge production loss to the textile industry.Talking to newsmen here the other day, PTEA Chairman Asghar Ali and Vice Chairman Muhammad Asif said that the SNGPL supplied gas to industries in Faisalabad for two days in last week and issued three days gas supply schedule on Sunday for the next week but after 24 hours, gas supply was abruptly suspended without taking the industrialists into confidence, disrupting the industrial process. They pointed out that processing sector operated round the clock as textile processing was a continuous process and sudden shut down of the operation caused damages. Gas supply suspension besides affecting exports, has also been causing joblessness among the textile workers, they argued. Since the government has decided to pull out of the IMF programme, it is imperative to let the textile industry perform to earn foreign exchange and maintain balance of payments, they asserted.According to Asghar Ali, textile industry is already running 50 per cent below capacity due to energy constraints, ultimately affecting industry’s potential to grow fast and earn foreign exchange for the country. Suspension of gas supply is hampering production of textiles and halted the industrial activities. He warned that the situation arising out of gas outages would lead to missing export orders, capital flight, labour lay-off, worsening of law and order and decline in government’s revenue. On the one hand, the government was contemplating to increase growth targets while on the other its harsh decisions on gas and power outages and high utility tariffs were posing a severe threat to meeting these targets, he argued. Muhammad Asif was of the view that if gas supply to industry was not ensured, there would be great shortfall in exports of the country. Pinpointing main factors, he said that energy crisis was the major reason impacted the exports negatively. Industries remained in dire straits due to long hours power cuts and severe gas closures. When industry of any country is not provided with gas and electricity which was basic inputs, how exporters could meet their orders on time, he quipped. Foreign buyers are reluctant to place orders as they fear that the drastic energy shortage would hamper the production and the Pakistani exporters would not be able to timely honour their export commitments. The PTEA leaders urged the government to take all stakeholders into the loop and stop unilateral policies and decisions and address the real and basic issue of energy to put the economy into deep gear. They demanded immediate restoration of gas supply to industries in the region.