A senior representative of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has said that the textile industry of Sindh and Balochistan is compelled to close their production or operate at 50 percent of their capacity due to a severe shortage of gas supply along with low gas pressure.
In a statement, APTMA’s Southern Zone Chairman Zahid Mazhar said that the industry is facing this issue despite the fact that the government increased the gas tariff in February 2023 by around 30 percent.
He said that the shortage of gas supply to the export-oriented textile industry of Sindh and Balochistan has created havoc, resulting in the closure of a number of industries and a massive decline in the growth of large-scale manufacturing and textile exports. He highlighted that textile exports have declined by 14 percent in the first ten months of the current fiscal year.
Mazhar also highlighted that Sindh and Balochistan are producing around 85 percent of the total natural gas produced in the country. However, they are denied their rights guaranteed under Article 158 of the Constitution.
He demanded that the gas being produced in Sindh and Balochistan should first be supplied to these provinces and after fulfilling the requirement of Sindh and Balochistan the surplus should be supplied to other provinces.
On the contrary, the gas of the two provinces is being supplied to Punjab which is against Article 158, he claimed. He said that the textile industry is not only facing the problem of weekly closure of gas for two days but also facing the problem of low gas pressure throughout the week. This is resulting in heavy production losses, de-industrialization, and unemployment.
Mazhar further said that the gas supply suspension to the Sindh-based industry that contributes 52 percent to the country’s total exports is resulting in a colossal loss of foreign exchange and revenue.
He requested the governments of Sindh and Balochistan to take serious notice of the shortage and low pressure of the gas on an urgent basis and issue instructions to SSGCL to ensure continuous and uninterrupted gas supply to the industry of Sindh and Balochistan in general, and export-oriented sector in particular.
He warned that otherwise more and more industries would be compelled to close their operations which will cause irreparable losses to the economy.