The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir has urged the federal government to restore gas supply to the textile industry on an urgent basis, stressing that a loss of almost $1 billion in exports has already been incurred because of it.
At a press conference, he said that the over 300 textile mills that have been closed due to a cut in gas supply. He added that the 26 per cent upsurge in the export of textiles during fiscal year 2021-22 was made possible only due to the supply of energy at a regionally competitive tariff.
He stated that the textile industry had performed admirably, increasing textile exports from $12.5bn in 2020 to nearly $20bn in 2022, a 60pc increase.
He claimed that the exponential growth in the textile sector had promoted investment of over $5bn and the establishment of 100 new textile units, which, after becoming operational, would result in fetching additional exports of $6.0bn per annum.
Mr Nasir emphasized that the suspension of gas supply to industry for a week led to a near shutdown of production in the entire value-added sector, inflicting severe damage to the economy.
He went on to say that the large-scale closing of mills has resulted in massive layoffs and unemployment, sowing widespread economic chaos.
He is confounded that the exporting sector, which has pledged to increase textile exports to $25bn by 2022-23, is being denied energy and gas. He believes that a constant supply of gas is essential for the industry to maintain export momentum.
Mr. Zaman said that the textile sector has a history of increasing exports and providing stability to the economy. He warned that if the current situation continues, they will lose more than half of their output this month.
He stated that the textile industry is currently producing goods for the upcoming Christmas, and any delay in the delivery schedule risks losing export markets for an indefinite period.
If this momentum is not maintained due to energy supply and cost constraints, Pakistan will need to seek an additional $6bn in loans from abroad, which may not be possible under the current circumstances.
He emphasized the importance of restoring gas supply to the export-oriented industry as soon as possible.
The textile sector plays a vital role in the economy of the country, accounting for 61% of exports and 40% of employment in the manufacturing sector. The closure of mills due to the non-supply of gas would have a devastating effect on the already fragile economy.