As the proposed three-month suspension of gas supply to textile industries has sounded alarm bell in Faisalabad, the trade associations of Pakistan has termed the decision an attempt to destroy the whole industrial chain.

“Due to the closure, not only the industry but also the government would be suffering massively,” it was disclosed during a joint press conference addressed by the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, the All Pakistan Bedsheet and Upholstery Manufacturers Association, the All Pakistan Textile Sizing Association, the Khurrianwala Industrial Estate Association and the Loom Owners Association.

PTEA Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood strongly rejected the proposed gas supply cut to industries and termed it an industry closure plan. He said that non-serious attitude of the government is the root of the problem, which is negatively impacting the country’s textile industry. The industry has an annual export turnover of USD 13.8 billion and employs 15 million workers, he added.

 “Severe shortage of gas would plunge the textile exports into disaster. It is likely to impact over 450 industrial units and millions of workers and thus result in industrial unrest,” he said. He called on the government to initiate steps to ensure adequate gas supply for the textile industry, and said that a textile mills can function viably only if they remain operational round the clock throughout the year.

He said, “Today, the situation has become the worst and it has become unviable for the industry to keep its operations intact. Industry is the backbone of the country but if the government is in no need of the industry; then we are ready to shut it down. Around 80 percent of the textile industries are in Punjab and it employs 15 million people and by neglecting Punjab industries, the government is neglecting major part of country’s industry. We fear a massive cut in our export targets due to the present crises. The government needs to show political will to keep the textile industry moving forward and protect thousands of textile workers from joblessness.”

The PTEA chairman said that gas supply to textile industry has reduced to 114 days in 2013 against 302 days in 2008, and added that with proper consultation and by taking the stakeholders and industrial consumers in confidence, a viable management and revolving schedule of gas could be worked out and the period of acute shortage could be tied over through mutual arrangement. Pakistan is in dire need of enhancing exports to provide some cushion to its sagging economy, however, due to such negative factors, exports are suffering right from the beginning of current financial year, he said.

He urged the government to take urgent cognizance of this serious matter of national importance and immediately intervene and reverse the industrial gas supply cut decision enabling the industrial wheel moving and exporters to fulfil their commitments with foreign buyers failing which the country would lose not only direly needed precious foreign exchange but also lose export markets.