Industrialists and exporters have expressed concern over the current gas crisis, warning that the industry will face extreme difficulty in the wake of a ban on gas supply for captive power generation by the general industry from February 1 and by export-oriented sectors from March 1.

“The decision of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) appears to have been taken on non-professional advice and without consultation with the main stakeholders, ie businessmen and apex bodies,” said FPCCI President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo.

In a separate statement, Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan Chairman Feroze Alam Lari said despite value-added textile export orders to the country’s exporters, different issues arising from time to time created hurdles in the way of growing exports of the textile sector.

“The export sector is already facing scarcity of cotton yarn in the domestic market due to a reduction in cotton production and export of cotton yarn, which is the basic raw material for textile,” he added.

“Now, the last nail in the coffin of textile exporters will be unavailability of gas. Gas is the basic fuel for manufacturing and processing textile goods. Absence of gas as well as scarcity of electricity will be the major obstacles faced by the exporters,” he warned.

Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President M Shariq Vohra stated that they would not allow K-Electric to sabotage Karachi’s progress and development and KCCI representatives emphasised that the government should not take such decisions that could lead to layoffs due to factory closures. “Being the association of an export-oriented sector, we strongly believe that cutting gas supply to the domestic industry will cause a dent in the export supply chain,” said Lari.

Prime minister’s vision of 10 million jobs was based on industrial expansion by the private sector as the public sector could not generate many employment opportunities, the FPCCI chief said, adding that the gas supply suspension decision would damage the vision of providing jobs and enhancing exports and industrialisation.

FPCCI Senior Vice President Shahzeb Akram said the suspension of natural gas supply to industries would affect exports and employment. “Business community is ready to discuss this matter with the government. Many industrial units have been closed in the past 15 days, especially ceramic units.

“The government on the one hand is providing amnesty for the construction industry to boost economic activities and on the other hand creating hurdles in the way of construction sector and allied industries,” he lamented.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2021.

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