THE All Pakistan Textile Mills Association insists it is caught between the rock and a hard place. On one hand it is being hurt by the excessively high power tariff. One the other, exorbitantly high interest rates are making it tough for the mills to pay back the industrial credit that they get. Chairman Tariq Mehmood has urged the government to immediately withdraw the 17 percent electricity tariff and set up a separate tariff for the textile industry. He pleaded that about 30 percent of the textile mills had closed down due to the high power costs. Now, not to contest the textile industry's place in Pakistan's industrial and export profile, it would be difficult for the government to do so without causing resentment amongst the other manufacturing sectors in Pakistan. It's a can of worms. Other sectors can rightfully start demanding a treatment similar to the thrice-born textile sector. Yes, the previous practice of subsidizing home consumers sometimes at the expense of the industrial units could stop. But an end to that cross subsidy will cause inflated electricity bills in households throughout the nation, a prospect no political party looks too fondly at. The power crunch that the government currently faces is a direct consequence of the predecessors' mismanagement of the country's power production and distribution apparatus. Wapda isn't in an enviable position as far as circular debt is concerned. Even the large quantum of wattage it loses as transmission losses requires a lot of investment in maintenance to reduce. There doesn't seem to be an effective way to keep power cheap. Or at least as cheap as businesses and consumers want it to be. On another note industrial projects worth millions of dollars have been put on the backburner on account of mismanagement by the government's concerned bodies. On one hand, the government insists on increasing tariffs and taxes to raise revenue to cover costs. On the other, it doesn't spend money on projects that it has funds earmarked for. The sloppiness of the government when it comes to the mismanagement of funds and fiscal layout is staggering. And this does not extend to this government but all governments. Spending as low as 30 percent on funds allocated in the PSDP might also simply be a consequence of limited fiscal space and not lack of planning in the concerned department. In this case, the government, when drafting the budget, should be more realistic when giving a tax revenue target, something that it hasn't been able to do this time as well.