LAHORE                -             All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Adil Bashir has urged Prime Minister Imran Khan and relevant authorities to review the decision of add-ons/surcharges increasing power tariff to 70 per cent retrospectively for the export-oriented industry.

Addressing a press conference at APTMA Punjab office on Tuesday, he feared that the decision could lead to closure of mills that would render hundreds and thousands of workers jobless.

Flanked by other office bearers, Adil Bashir lamented that the ministry had unilaterally increased power tariff to 13 cents per kWh to cover inefficiencies and make matters worse by imposing it from January 2019 in defiance of PM’s commitment, Cabinet and ECC decisions. He said that industries would not be able to pay huge amount which would result in bankruptcies and unemployment. He said Pakistani exports would not be able to compete with China, Bangladesh and India where power tariffs were 7-9 cents.

He said the textile industry took a sigh of relief when the government announced regionally competitive electricity tariff @7.5 cents or Rs11.70 per kWh for the export-oriented sectors. This decision led to new investment and generated 500,000 additional jobs while ensuring livelihood to half a million families, he said. He said that garments exports surged more than 30 per cent in quantity terms during the last one year.

However, he said, imposition of surcharges in the name of QTA, ADMC, Financial Cost Surcharge, Neelum Jhelum Surcharge, Positive Fuel Adjustment Surcharge, and fixed surcharge has pushed the export-oriented tariff upward from 7.5 cents to almost 13 cents kWh. He said the power looms association has already announced complete strike from February 1 and other textile associations would also be joining. This situation would adversely affect the overall textile industry, he said.