More than 10 Million Jobs at Risk in Punjab’s Textile Industry: APTMA

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has warned the government that there would soon be major layoffs leading to significant unemployment of more than 10 million workers in Punjab.

In a letter to the premier, APTMA has requested the government to create a level playing field within the country by implementing a uniform gas price of $7 per MMBtu for the export industry across the country.

It has also requested the government to maintain Rs. 19.99 per kWh for the export sector across the country to retain competitiveness internationally.

The association has also requested to accord first priority for gas to supply to captive power plants of the export-oriented sector.

APTMA said that the decision of the government to suspend regionally competitive energy tariff (RCET) of electricity for export-oriented units (EOUs) across Pakistan will render the textile industry, especially in Punjab, uncompetitive with the country and the region.

It highlighted that this particularly hurts Punjab-based industries. The price differential between effective electricity prices in Punjab and Sindh is more than 3.65 times as EOUs in Sindh can generate electricity at Rs. 11 per kWh from gas being provided at $4 per MMBtu while Punjab gets gas at $9 per MMBtu.

APTMA said that gas/RLNG being provided to EOUs in Punjab also comes with the caveat that it will not be used for electricity generation. Therefore, the only available energy for EOUs in Punjab after March 1 will be grid electricity at over Rs. 50 per kWh. It said that this will shift available orders to cheaper alternatives internationally and within Pakistan.

Labeling it an ‘inexplicable disastrous policy’, ATPMA has requested the premier to consider its request and safeguard Pakistan’s exports and employment. It warned that if the industry is not facilitated it could lead to deindustrialization in Punjab and can dent exports by up to $10 billion annually.

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