PTEA rejects new power outages plan for industries

FAISALABAD - Pakistan Textile Exporters Association has opposed the proposed increase in power loadshedding for industries, calling on the government to shelve its new outages plan to bring the country’s economy out of stagnation. This would not only hamper the industrial growth, but would also put millions of jobs at stake, besides adversely impacting the exports.
Criticizing the proposed power loadshedding plan for industries, Sohail Pasha, Chairman, and Rizwan Riaz Saigal, in a statement here on Saturday, expressed extreme concerns over the rising electricity shortfall and urged the government to take war footing measures to overcome this situation as it has created new threats to the future survival of industries and the overall economy. Gas and electricity are basic fuels of the industry and their uninterrupted and adequate supply is crucial for the textile industry to fuel its production divisions, they said. Industrial productions had already gone down by fifty percent because of gas suspension and the remaining is paying a very high cost for keeping the industrial wheels on the run, they said. They said that the industry needs a continuous supply of electricity to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but further increase in electricity loadshedding would badly hit the exports. Energy supply and economic growth are interlinked and unannounced forced power suspension is hampering the pace of industrial growth in the country, they argued.
Industrial sector is the main victim of massive energy shortage despite the fact that business community fulfills its national obligations by paying all taxes to the government. It is a sheer injustice that instead of controlling line losses and making arrangements to stop electricity thefts, the authorities are busy in worsening the situation. They said that if immediate measures are not taken to ensure continuous supply of electricity to the industrial units, nothing could stop the industrial wheel from coming to a grinding halt and resultant massive lay-offs. Industry is already passing through a very difficult times and further increase in power loadshedding would add fuel to fire, they added. PTEA chairman Sohail Pasha was of the view that Pakistan is endowed with plenty of renewable energy resources like wind and solar, which still remain untapped. Adoption and deployment of renewable energy resources can play a significant role in contributing towards energy security and energy independence of the country. He said that there is a worldwide trend of nuclear power generation because of uncertain oil prices; currently about 436 nuclear power plants, with cumulative net output of 370,326MW electricity, are operating in 31 countries while Pakistan has only 1.7 percent share of nuclear power in its total energy mix.

He stressed upon the government to speed up the construction of nuclear power plants, which are cost competitive, safe and reliable.
Rizwan Riaz Saigal said that another good option for the government to reduce energy crisis is to exploit the huge potential of hydropower generation. Only KPK has the potential of generating 50,000MW hydropower and government should build small dams to exploit this potential. For this purpose, private sector should be encouraged by simplifying the process of establishing micro-power stations in potential areas, he added.
PTEA leaders stressed that government should encourage the private sector to come forward and play a proactive role in the development of renewable energy by utilizing wind, solar and other renewable energy sources for overcoming the energy insecurity and to keep industrial wheel running.

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