Turkmenistan to give 450 megawatts power: minister
Textile Minister Senator Abbas Khan Afridi Friday said the government is taking steps to end energy crisis and Pakistan will soon get some 450 MW electricity from Turkmenistan. Addressing the members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) here, he said the Prime Minister has set up several high-level committees for proper implementation of trade agreements with Turkmenistan and they have been asked to submit report on a monthly basis.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014
"Initially, Turkmenistan will provide some 450 MW, while in the second phase another 1,000 MW will be supplied to Pakistan," he added. Refusing the demand of reduction in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) for textile sector, the minister indicated that the gas tariff would increase further and advised the APTMA members to convert their industry on coal as the country is facing a massive shortfall of gas.
He said there are serious issues of energy that were hampering the growth of production, therefore the federal government is taking steps to overcome from the energy crisis and as part of these efforts, the government has lifted ban on exploration licenses. "There was no exploration activity in the country in last 10 years and no exploration license was given to any company. The present government has started activity in this regard and till now more than 50 licenses have been given to different exploration companies to explore oil and gas in different areas of the country. He announced that more than 200 more exploration licenses would be given by the end of this year."
Afridi while appreciating APTMA initiative of skill development campaign said the ministry of textile industry is launching a skill development project for young Pakistanis in the Textile Policy to be announced in the first fortnight of July 2014.
He said the main objective of the training programme is provision of skilled workforce to textile industry to make it more competitive and export-oriented and to uplift the economic status and living standard of trainees. The minister said the textile ministry will cover the costs incurred in the areas of trainee stipend, trainer's salary, raw material cost, social mobilisation, evaluation cost and certificate printing and distribution. Some 120,000 Pakistanis would be provided technical training under this program, he added.
The federal government has allocated some Rs 4.4 billion for training of 120,000 men and women in next five years. Duration of this programme is three months during which each trainee would receive stipend of Rs 8,000 per month, the minister said. The minister announced that law & order is the major issue and the government has started its efforts to eliminate terrorism in the country. "We hope the law & order situation in the country will be improved by the end of this year," he said.
About general sales tax, the minister was of the view that the rate of GST should be reduced to zero percent. He said the export of raw material was not beneficial for any country. Afridi said the value-added industries should be promoted to fetch better prices from international market. The growth in value added sector would also be beneficial for the spinners, he added. He assured the APTMA members that their refunds would be released soon to strengthen the capital flow of the industry.
During the meeting, APTMA Chairman Yasin Siddik discussed some problems being faced by the industry. He said that cost of doing business in Pakistan has increased manifold that had rendered Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market. Chairman APTMA said gas and electricity tariff in Pakistan is higher as compared with other regional countries. He said increase in GIDC will ruin the textile industry, adding that an increase in the GIDC is also a negation of what the government had offered in budget to boost business activity. The government should act prudently as the benefit of the GSP Plus status will also be mitigated with this increase in GIDC, he added. Yasin informed the minister that the industry was already on the brink of collapse due to high energy tariff and increase in GIDC would aggravate the situation. The energy contributes heavily in the cost of doing business and it would become difficult to compete internationally with increase in the GIDC, he said.