SIALKOT - The worst electricity loadshedding has been hitting hard the industry in this export-oriented city and has brought the productivity to a standstill, giving rise to the fear of widespread unemployment.

The surgical and hosiery industries have been under severe stress and facing serious problems, especially of smooth productivity and accomplishment of foreign orders. Sialkot earns foreign exchange to the tune of $1.5 billon annually through its export and has provided employment to thousands of workers including women folk. Apart from the manufacturing sector, the poor segment of society has been confronted with grim economic constraints due to the long hour power outages but nobody on the part of the quarters concerned are bothering to sense the gravity and take steps to at least mitigate the sufferings.

Industrial sector of any country plays instrumental role not only for earning foreign exchange and strengthening economy but also in provision of job opportunities to skilled, semi skilled and educated people. In this modern era, which is an epoch of economic war, most the countries are providing concessions and incentives to their industrial sectors to keep the economic wheel in top gear but unfortunately in Pakistan the picture is very bleak and totally against. Every day imposition of taxes and increase in petroleum and electricity prices has become a permanent feature.

Local industrial sector is confronted with power loadshedding 16 to 18 hours on a daily basis as a result of which the production of exportable products is at lowest ebb and exporters and manufacturers are experiencing mental torture and financial constraints because they are unable to deliver foreign orders in stipulated period. Furthermore the foreign buyers are reluctant to place new orders due to the uncertain condition of electricity supply in Pakistan.

Key buyers are considering shifting their businesses from Pakistan, which will be a serious blow to the already sinking national economy and ultimately Pakistan will not lose its international credibility but also lose international market. Sialkot is known globally for producing value-added and standard products but the government has failed to take remedial measures for protecting the industry from loadshedding. To avoid crippling of industrial sector there is a dire need for the provision of cheap and uninterrupted electricity to the industry to steer the industrial sector from crisis and save it.

It is time the government grasp the situation and address the situation through head-on measures on war-footings.