The energy crisis has once again hit textile industry, not only bringing down the performance of largest manufacturing industry of the country but also reducing cotton prices to historical lows.
The blackout duration has exceeded more than eight hours, likewise gas supply has also been reduced, said Mian Aftab Ahmed, former president Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association.
He said that after mid-December to first week of January electricity supply to the mills was uninterrupted but later 2-3 hours load shedding was started and now its duration has been increased to more than eight hours.
He said that the second largest employment generating sector of the country was facing severe problems due to the massive outages.
The overall performance of the sector has been reduced between 30-40 percent, that means we would not be able to process local and international orders on time, he said.
Ahmed said that due to energy crisis many of the mills have gradually shifted to coal, wood and liquefied petroleum gas to meet their energy demands but still many are relying on line electricity and gas. He said even the mills using alternative resources can’t rely on them completely.
He said that due to running on bare minimum capacity not only mills would have to bear huge losses but labour would also lose jobs.
When we will not have electricity and gas to run our mills we cannot pay the labour, resultantly many of them would become jobless, he said.
Due to energy crisis the textile mills has reduced their buying, resultantly the cotton is either stuck in ginning factories or with farmers.
The cotton ginners are close to become bankrupt as the mills are not buying lint from ginners and ginners have limited capacity to hold the stock and continue ginning, said Prem Chand, former vice chairman Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association.
He said that due to low demand from textile mills the rate of cotton has been dropped to ten years old historical rates.
The per mound rates of cotton has been dropped to Rs. 1500-1600, while cotton lint has been reduced to Rs 3500-4000 in Sindh, whereas in Punjab cotton bales are traded at Rs4500-4950, Chand said.
He said as compare to last years the rates have been slashed to more than half. Chand said that due to these low rates farmers are under huge debts.
In order to cultivate cotton in one acre farmer invest Rs 30,000 on seed and fertilizer and if land is on lease he spends another Rs5,000, after this much expense and hard work of around five months a farmer expects that he would run his kitchen with the profit of this crop throughout the year, but Rs1500 per mound will not serve him for some months, Chand explained.
The ministry of water and power is optimistic that prevailing spell of energy shortage would be over soon and the supply would be improved in coming days.
From tomorrow canals would be started opening and in coming week our hydel generation would start contributing another 2500 MW to national grid, which will help in minimising load shedding, said spokesman Ministry of Water and Power.
He also claimed that electricity generation would not be effected by the prevailing oil crisis.
Presently Gencos have oil stock and they have also bought another one hundred thousand tonnes of oil, which would be shipped by January 25, spokesman said.
He said due to overall improvement in electricity generation, the load shedding to textile sector would also be reduced in coming days.