More than 300 textile mills have been closed because of a cut in gas supply, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir said, urging the federal government to restore gas supply to the textile industry urgently- as the industry has incurred a loss of almost $1 billion in exports because of it.
Talking at a press conference, he said the 26 percent gain in the export of textiles during the financial year 2021-22 was made possible only because of the supply of energy at a regionally competitive tariff.
Aptma Chairman was accompanied by North Zone Chief Hamid Zaman and Senior Vice-Chairman Kamran Arshad.
He said that the textile industry performed commendably, growing textile exports from $12.5 billion in 2020 to almost $20 billion in 2022, an increase of 60 percent.
Aptma Chairman claimed that the exponential development in the textile sector has enhanced investment of over $5 billion and the formation of 100 new textile units, which, after being operational, would fetch additional exports of $6.0 billion per annum.
Mr. Nasir highlighted that gas supply to the industry was deferred for one week, seizing production in the whole value-added industry and causing a huge loss to the economy.
He further said that the large-scale closure of mills has caused a massive layoff and unemployment, increasing economic turmoil.
Moreover, Mr. Nasir believes it is inexplicable that the exporting division, which has assured to upsurge of textile exports to $25 billion by 2022-23, is being deprived of energy and gas. He said that a continuous supply of gas was vital for the industry to maintain momentum in exports.
Meanwhile, Hamid Zaman said that the textile sector has always delivered on its commitment to boost exports and proven that they are a feasible and long-term solution provider for the monetary stability of the country.
He maintained that the textile sector is currently manufacturing goods for the upcoming Christmas, but in case of any delay in the delivery, the schedule may lead to losing export markets for an unlimited period with very little chance of recovery.
“If this momentum is lost due to energy supply and cost constraints, Pakistan will be forced to seek an additional $ 6 billion in loans from abroad, which under the circumstances may not even be possible,” the North Zone Chief said, urging for instant restoration of gas supply to the export-oriented industry.