LAHORE - With a view to benefit from free market access status to EU countries after GSP Plus status to Pakistan, the SNGPL, on directives of the federal government, is supplying gas only to spinners and large scale gray textile manufacturing units whose contribution to textile export is mere $3-4 billion.
On the other hand, the SME units of value-added textile sector including processing, towel, bed wear, hosiery, apparel and garments, contributing more than $8 billion to total $13 billion textile exports, are being deprived of gas supply in Punjab, industry sources said on Wednesday. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari feared the government would not be able to get full advantage of the GSP Plus status unless and until it ensures provision of gas to the textile made-ups sector that is suffering heavily only because of unavailability of this important raw material.
He said that it was very unfortunate that some textile sectors were getting gas as per promise against the others that consume less gas and are more important as far as textile exports are concerned.
Sohail Lashari said that the SNGPL gas closure to the textile made ups sector would render millions of people jobless. Therefore, there was a dire need that the government should direct the SNGPL authorities to reset its priorities regarding provision of gas otherwise situation would get out of hand.
PRGMEA north zone SVP Jawwad Ch urged the SNGPL to immediately stop discrimination in provision of gas to value-added textile sector which is contributing more in total textile related exports of $13 billion.
He said that, while allowing gas to the textile sector, the government had promised equitable distribution to all segments of the textile sector to avail the EU GSP Plus status to the maximum but the ground realities are totally the other way round as the textile segments that are exporting more goods are being denied gas. Jawwad Ch said that the gas stoppage is a well-calculated and well thought-out conspiracy against the present regime that was doing its best to facilitate the business community.
The rise in number of unemployed would definitely give air to anti-government sentiments and this single step would throw millions of industrial workers out of jobs, Jawwad Ch said.
“It is not the industry only that would be suffering massively but the government would also be an ultimate loser on many counts.” PRGMEA chief coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said that the discriminatory attitude of the government was not only denting its goodwill and reputation but had also put a question mark on its ability to manage and govern things. He sought the Prime Minister’s intervention and help for a regular supply of gas to the garment sector as well in Lahore.
How the industry would be able to manage export orders worth millions of dollars when there is no gas? What about the thousands of daily wagers who have only one source of income? And above all, he added, how the government would convince both the local and foreign investors for investment when it is unable to manage the supply of gas to existing industrial units. Ijaz Khokhar said that the decision has sent a very negative signal to the foreign buyers. “Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the industry is being pushed to the wall.
garment industry leaders said that the shortage of gas was not the only issue its improper distribution was also a cause of grave concern. They said that it seemed that some elements in the Gas department were hatching conspiracies against the government to defame it.