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KARACHI: Executive Director & Secretary General of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Shahid Sattar Thursday urged Prime Minster Imran Khan to put on hold the decision of suspending gas supply to mills in Punjab while providing APTMA a time to plead the Punjab industry case.

In a letter to Prime Minister seeking an urgent appointment on a matter of grave concern and discuss the issue of gas supply to the export sector of Punjab that has been disconnected and request an appointment to present the factual position.

He said the Ministry of Energy had assured the Punjab export sector of continued gas supply provided they agreed to increase the price to 9$/MMBTU from 6.5$. APTMA agreed to this in the presence of Abdul Razzak Dawood.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Petroleum presented a Gas Management Plan to the CCOE on 2nd December 2021 which stated that gas to Captive Power Plants whether Co-Gen or not would be load shed starting 15th December.

The Punjab based industry was thereof hit with a double whammy i.e. increase in gas price at 9$ double that of Sindh & KPK, and load shedding from 15th December.

Under these circumstances, some member mills went to court on 08 December full 6 days after CCOE and got stay on the basis of discrimination vs other provinces.

He said that the discrimination is not only in price but also in gas load shedding which is restricted to Punjab only. He said 70 % of the textile industry is based in Punjab, and the suspension of gas will bring 80% of the industry to a complete halt.

This will have an extremely negative impact on exports and will bring to an end the extremely positive increase in exports and investment witnessed during the last year.

He said if we are unable to deliver goods on order, orders once lost will be a permanent loss to Pakistan, and extremely difficult if not impossible to reverse.

He said that the bulk of our mills are Co-Generation and use gas to produce electricity as well as steam and hot water used in process. Even if the additional electricity load could be accommodated the mills cannot generate steam & hot water from electricity.

However, the truth of the matter is that the DISCOs are not in a position to supply additional power to the mills in any case.

He said most of the mills (80%) will not be in a position to operate, the impact on employment would be extremely detrimental. As a consequence, a large number of workers would be laid off in Punjab leading to many social and political consequences.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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