LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to meet the leading textile millers and office-bearers of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday (tomorrow).
According to sources, the impeccable sources added that APTMA’s Group Leader Gohar Ijaz would lead the delegation and it will comprise APTMA’s Chairman Dr Amanullah Kassim, APTMA Punjab’s Chairman Adil Bashir and other leading textile millers and office-bearers of the association.
The source added that during the meeting with the premier, the retrospective charging of power tariff arrears from January 1, 2019, over and above the competitive rate of 7.5cents/kWh will be discussed in detail along with long-term textile policy and other issues faced by the export-oriented sector. The sources concerned added that the APTMA delegation would also inform the prime minister about the competitive energy pricing at which the regional competitors are getting electricity and how the textile sectors exports increased in the last one year or so when the government was providing electricity at a competitive rate of 7.5cents/kWh.
The sources said that they would also inform Imran Khan about the misinformation communicated to him reportedly by Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Petroleum Nadeem Babar that they are ready to provide and already providing electricity at the competitive rate of Rs7.5cents/kWh and the additional surcharges are added to the bills following court orders. The informed sources added that in reality, Power Division wrote a letter to all power distribution companies on January 13, 2020 to charge additional surcharges arrears to exports-oriented sector from January 1, 2019 with retrospective effect despite PM’s clear instructions to provide electricity at competitive rate of 7.5cents/kWh and also in contrast to the federal cabinet’s decision.
“There is no existence of any such court order in which it has asked to charge power tariff arrears to export-oriented sector over and above the competitive price of Rs7.5cents/kWh. So, these are all lies and rumours,” the sources said. The sources added that the Power Division is trying to save its skin from the mismanagement and its failure to recover line losses etc.
It is highly likely that after the meeting with the APTMA’s delegation, Imran Khan would ask the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) to withdraw its letter written to power distribution companies to charge additional surcharges over and above the competitive rate of Rs7.5cents/kWh, the sources said.
The premier also said on Monday that provision of electricity to the domestic and industrial consumers at reasonable rates is top priority of his government. During the meeting, the APTMA delegation would also request the prime minister to approve the long-term textile policy on urgent basis as it is hampering the exports of the country because they want clarity on part of the government to take exports orders etc. “Uniform rates of energy including electricity at 7.5cents/kWh and gas at $6.5/mmBtu for next 10 years along with long-term textile policy would help Pakistan in achieving the target of $50 billion exports in next 10 years,” a textile miller who would be part of the delegation added.
He added that the export-oriented sector is hopeful that the premier would resolve all the issues faced by the industry including the provision of electricity at competitive price of 7.5cents/kWh.