LAHORE - The 33 percent cut in prices of natural gas for the industrial sector from Rs600 to Rs400/MMBTU will further escalate the fuel cost of majority of textile mills in Punjab based on Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas.

According to industry experts, the RLNG price has been pegged with the Brent oil and its import is based in dollar, therefore, a price disparity of 60 percent between the rate of domestic gas and RLNG would expose the Punjab textile industry to a high risk that may end up in massive closures ahead.

They said some 70 percent of the textile industry is based in Punjab, which would suffer a heavy price differential against the industry in other provinces.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan said reduction in price of system gas by Rs200 per MMBTU for industry is a step in the right direction but would play havoc with the RLNG-reliant Punjab-based textile industry.

While appreciating the export friendly approach of the Economic Coordination Committee for a reduction in cost of doing business, he has also extended a word of caution by highlighting that it would make the RLNG 60 percent more expensive, which the Punjab-based textile industry is already getting at 45 percent higher rate against the system gas price.

He added that majority of the Punjab-based textile mills have taken it as a death warrant for their survival and a design of their ultimate demise.

The APTMA Punjab Chairman has urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif to intervene immediately and ensure a price parity between the system gas and RLNG. Any delay in this regard would push the Punjab-based textile units to the verge of closure and finding out a way out has become an urgent need of the hour, he added.