LAHORE – The All Pakistan Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Aamir Fayyaz has demanded a uniform energy price of Rs600 per MMBTU to revive the $4 billion closed capacity in Punjab besides attracting new investment to the sector to generate billions of dollars exportable surplus.
“Unless the government ensures an immediate restoration of the viability, the textile industry would be unable to compete and deliver for the economy,” he stressed.
He deplored that the government was not proactive in controlling the energy price for the industry, which becomes 35 percent of the conversion cost. Particularly, he added, the Punjab-based textile industry’s viability is being hit hard due to the energy cost.
According to him, the government has withdrawn system gas from the industry while leaving it totally relying upon the costlier RLNG. It is very difficult for the industry in Punjab to pay around Rs1300 per MMBTU for the same RLNG, which is available at Rs600 per MMBTU for the textile mills in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Meanwhile, a surcharge of Rs3.63 per kWh is being charged from the industrial consumers on independent feeders despite zero line losses. He said the textile mills in Punjab were paying for the power theft by other consumers on the system. Eventually, the industry in Punjab is becoming uncompetitive as well as redundant with every passing day while the government policy makers are slumbering over the issue. Not only this, the country is being burdened by the widening gap of trade deficit, which can easily be overcome through increase in exports, he added.
He said the government should ensure a single gas price of Rs600 per MMBTU across the country, as the existing difference in price for the mills in Punjab versus the rest of the country is unbearable. Similarly, the availability of electricity should be ensured at Rs7 per kWh without surcharge, which is a regionally competitive energy price. Any further delay in resolving the issue may challenge the national security soon the oil prices hit through the roof internationally, he warned.
Chairman Aptma has appealed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to ensure single gas price across the country that should also be regionally competitive.
He said the earlier announcement of competitive energy price and other measures taken by the Federal Textile Board should be implemented immediately under a long term policy for the textile industry increase export for narrowing the trade deficit.