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Pakistan: Punjab's value-added textiles facing energy crisis

Besides facing load-shedding of around six to eight hours, the value-added industry in Punjab, Pakistan, except spinning sector, is without gas for the last two weeks. The SNGPL had committed to provide at least 25 per cent gas to the garment sector but even this limited quantity of gas was not ensured, as the industry on Ferozepur Road, Kotlakhpat industrial area, Township industrial estate, Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate and industrial clusters on Multan Road are not getting gas supply for last two weeks along with suspension of power supply of over 6 hours.

As per Malik Naseer, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), the garment industry in Punjab was becoming uncompetitive within Pakistan due to prolonged power load-shedding and complete gas supply suspension while there was smooth gas and power supply in other provinces. Value-added textile industry in Punjab was facing problems because of the increasing cost of production due to gas shortages, higher electricity tariff, and amounts stuck up with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in sales tax refunds, he urged the government to provide a level playing field to the Punjab-based clothing industry by providing greater gas and power supply, which will help exporters reduce their energy costs, and by releasing the amounts stuck up in sales tax refunds.

Ijaz A Mumtaz, president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, warned of massive lay-offs and industrial closures if unscheduled load-shedding is not stopped immediately in Lahore Township Industrial area by the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). LCCI former vice president Kashif Anwar too has said the industry needs continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports are not up to the mark. Pakistan had already lost a number of international markets and the new longer hour power cuts would further aggravate the situation, he claimed.