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Textile industry in Punjab: suspension of gas supply causes a huge loss during four months

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Economic Updates - Pak Major Financial News

The suspension of gas supply to the textile industry in the Punjab has caused an estimated loss of $878 million during the last four months, it is learnt.

Talking to Business Recorder, industry sources revealed that only in January the country had lost textile exports of $300 million and if the authorities did not restore gas supply to the industry exports would further decline.

Industrialists and exporters of the Punjab while welcoming the 20th Amendment in the constitution have urged the parliamentarians and leaders of all political parties to include equal distribution rights of natural resources in the proposed amendment.

According to the Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, the province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from the well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day.In the light of this Article, the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Peshawar High Court (PHC) ordered the government for the provision of gas to the gas producing region first and then to other regions.

The workers as well as industrialists are regularly taking out rallies and protests against the government throughout the province to pressurise the federal government to restore gas supplies to the industries.Industrialists argued that the federal government should realise that more than 60 per cent of industry is operating in the Punjab and the country's lion share of exports is dependent on this sector therefore ignoring it would not be a wise step.

If gas were not provided to the Punjab, the country would not only fail to meet export target but also cause massive unemployment.Mohsin Aziz, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) while talking to the BR from Medina, Saudi Arabia said that the government should take necessary measures on war-footing and consult the respective stakeholders in resolving energy crisis.

He further proposed that oil prices be decreased by 50 percent for a certain period so that gas consumption by the CNG sector could be reduced.Rana Arif Tauseef, Chairman All Punjab Textile Associations Council when contacted said the price of gas for the domestic sector should also be rationalised.

"The tariff for domestic sector, which eats away more than 42 per cent of gas, should be revised.

The country cannot afford the luxury of using inefficient gas heaters and geysers.

There should be a massive increase of price for the domestic users who consume large amount of gas.

The domestic sector should be allowed to use gas only for preparing meals and this decision could be implemented through tariff rationalisation.

If gas consumption of domestic user rises then it should be charged high tariffs," he added.Gohar Ejaz, Aptma former chairman said that China witnessed a similar situation some 30 years ago and the then Chinese government stopped gas supplies to domestic users.

The government should not close gas for domestic sector but increasing the price for big users could reduce consumption.

In this way, the usage of heaters, geysers and generators could be discouraged and the industry could be saved, he observed.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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