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KARACHI: Textile makers on Saturday announced to begin their protest with “no export days” till the government introduces and implements a fair industrial gas tariff.

Industries in the protest drive will continuously display banners in every manufacturing unit with burning their export orders and mark ‘no export days’ on a frequent basis.

The protest decision came up in an emergency extraordinary general meeting held at the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association PHMA House with its members and office-bearers to discuss the “historic” gas tariff surge that has haunted the entire textile export industry.

The meeting asked the incumbent interim government to revisit its decision on a historic rise in gas prices for the export industry with introducing and implementing a fair industrial gas tariff.

As per the decision, the proposed protest drive will continue until the government meets industry’s demands with taking Karachi’s stakeholders on board. The industry wants the government to pay a serious attention to the challenging conditions of Karachi’s industry after gas price historic hike.

Briefing the meeting, Muhammad Javed Bilwani - Patron-in-Chief PHMA said that the recent gas price hike for the industry is unacceptable and unviable. He slammed the federal energy ministry for arbitrarily increasing the gas price to the new highs.

He said that the ministry bypassed Ogra’s tariff for Rs1350 MMBTU and raised the gas price by 100 percent to 130 percent in a one go without consulting with the industry. He called the ministry’s move as one-sided that caused turbulence to the manufacturing sector.

He also informed the meeting about his various meetings in Karachi and Islamabad with the federal energy minister, federal finance minister to signal the concerns of the SSGCL-linked export-oriented industries’ on gas price hike to the prime minister.

The export-industry finds the recent gas price hike as the highest and unprecedented, he said. He extended the exporters demands for Rs1350 per MMBTU. He said that the harsh hike will lead to a number of industries closures.

The Karachi’s industry has rejected the exorbitant gas price hike because the cross-subsidies from the fertiliser and domestic sectors have already overburdened it, he said, adding that the government should bear these external financial liabilities by itself, instead.

Bilwani censured the government for its “unwise and ill-advised decision” that has left the export-oriented sectors unviable and uncompetitive on the world markets, which is feared to hit foreign exchange inflows and widen trade and current account deficits.

With the industry’s closures, he saw a huge urban unemployment to strike the country, as well. He showed disappointment over the government’s lack of response to a number of appeals by the KCCI and industry in media this month.

He warned the government about losing the global export markets under the circumstances, saying that the world trade platforms cannot be easily regained once they lost.

The participants also expressed their concerns about growing manufacturing costs with the highest ever gas price, costlier water and spending on the security during the law aw and order situation.

They said that the industrial operations are nearly unviable, adding that a majority of the SMEs cannot afford to go for the alternative fuel sources because they are short of space as vertical units.

The global buyers are unwilling to offer higher price for the country’s products since the competing nations tag comparatively lower rates, they said and feared the gas price scare will take away about 30 percent international business from the local exporters.

Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Abdul Jabbar Gajiani, Zonal Chairman (Southern Zone), Shabbir Bilwani, Senior Vice-Chairman; (Southern Zone), Mahmood Nara, Vice-Chairman; (Southern Zone), Muhammad Babar Khan, Immediate Past Central Chairman, Member Exporter including Javed Akhtar, Faisal Arshad Sheikh, Saleem Nagaria, Saleem Parekh, Aziz Punjwani, Altaf Hussain, Abdul Rehman, Abdul Qadir Bilwani, Bashir Ghaffar, Adeel Ayaz, Salman Ishaq, Atiq Ahmed and Barkat Ali with members in person and via video link attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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