FAISALABAD – Exporters have rejected additional one-day cut in weekly gas supply to the textile industry, calling on the government to shelve its new gas outages plan to bring the country’s economy out of stagnation.
“This would not only hamper the industrial growth, but would also put jobs of over 15 million workers at stake, besides adversely impacting the current $14 billion exports,” they said in a statement issued on Wednesday following their meeting that took stoke of the situation.
Pakistan Textile Exporters’ Association Chairman Rana Arif Touseef, who was chairing the meeting, said they were unable to understand the logic behind targeting the industrialists, time and again, under one pretext or the other.
“The industries are already in dire situation due to prolonged power cuts and two-day gas closure. At a time, when the industrialists are making efforts for an end to two-day gas holiday, the authorities have further complicated the situation by coming up with the proposal of additional gas suspension of one-day, which is not acceptable to us under any circumstances,” he said.
“A large number of industrial units would be left with no other option but to close down their operations if additional gas load-shedding was carried out. It is not only the industries that would be suffering, but the government would also be an ultimate loser on many counts,” observed Touseef. Pointing out at the new gas suspension plan, the PTEA chief sought the government intervention and help for a regular supply of gas to the industries.
“How the industry could manage export orders, worth millions of dollars, when there was no gas, and what about millions of daily-wagers,” he questioned.
This decision has sent a very negative signal to the foreign buyers. Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the textile industry is being pushed to the wall, Touseef said while adding that the gas suspension plan was tantamount to throttling the industry to death at this crucial juncture.
The entire industrial sector is already passing through a very critical phase due to the acute shortage of electricity and gad, poor law and order, he observed, and said that energy outages would result in massive unemployment, which would trigger unrest as well as extremism. The PTEA chief wished that sanity might prevail in the government circles and the gas supply to the industry would continue in accordance with the previous schedule.
He also demanded the government to exempt the textile sector from electricity and gas load shedding.