Multan, November 29, 2016 (PPI-OT): Discrimination against the Punjab-based textile industry, delay in announcement relief Package of Rs.170 billion, Wide gap in the gas prices for Punjab and other provinces have forced the textile mills and value added sector of South Punjab to protest and observe the black-day, said the Scores of associations of textile manufacturers , APTMA and Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry have announced here on Tuesday that they will observe December 6, 2016 as a black day in a bid to register their strong protest over discrimination against the Punjab industry in gas prices, a key input.
M. Anis Khawaja of APTMA South Punjab Chapter, Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi President of MCCI, Rehman Naseem, Khawaja Muhammad Usman Ex-President MCCI, Khawaja Mehr Ali, Atta Shafi Tanvir Sheikh Senior Vice President of MCCI, Khawaja Muhammad Younas Chairman of All Pakistan Bed sheets and Upholstery manufacturers Association (APBUMA) told media men in a Press conference that they lashed out at what they said was the government’s discrimination against the Punjab-based textile industry as it was bearing the brunt of gas shortage.
The disparity in gas prices had shattered the entire industrial chain in Punjab, they said in a meeting held on Tuesday before the press conference. They said the industries in Sindh were consuming low-priced gas to meet their needs whereas Punjab industries, which generated the highest revenue, were compelled to use the expensive re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) in their production process.
With the recent reduction in the industrial gas tariff, the price for Sindh industries has become Rs 400 per metre million British thermal units (mmbtu) whereas Punjab industries are paying over Rs930 per mmbtu for RLNG. “With a huge difference of 120% in gas prices how can we survive? This is unjust,” they said. Expressing disappointment over the indifference and lack of cooperation from government institutions, he said they were repeatedly voicing their concern over the situation but all of the hue and cry was falling on deaf ears of the policy makers.
They urged the prime minister to take notice of the discrimination and ensure gas supply to the industries of Punjab at the same price. They also called for immediately announcing the long-awaited prime minister’s package for the ailing textile industry and the supply of electricity to industries at Rs.7 per unit to enable them to compete well in the international market. He announced that if the government did not fulfill their demands, they would hold a massive protest.
MCCI President Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi criticised the government for not tackling the industrial crisis, saying the situation could be more alarming in coming months as 50 % of the industrial capacity in Punjab had remained unutilised. APTMA’s M. Anis Khawaja said the policymakers were not serious about resolving the issues of textile industry and the situation was worsening day by day. He demanded that equal industrial gas tariffs should be applied across the board.
He was of the view that the situation was becoming unbearable for the industry and it was a constant source of inefficiency plaguing the viability of producing units. “A further drop in exports would have dire impact on the economy which is already under pressure,” said Saeed. “The textile industry is the premier industry earning foreign exchange and providing jobs to millions of workers but it is heading towards disaster due to the high cost of energy and lack of basic working capital.”
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