ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has formed a committee headed by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to finalise suggestions for settlement of the issue of gas shortage for textile industry in Punjab during winter months.
The new committee has been constituted soon after the Government temporarily suspended the gas load management plan for the textile units in the Punjab province.
“The Committee has been tasked to propose mechanisms for sustainable gas supply with proper pressure to textile industry of Punjab in winter months, for addressing low pressure of gas for industry in Punjab and for resolution of any other relevant issue,” an official statement said. The Committee shall initiate work immediately and shall submit its report on urgent basis.
Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister for Water & Power Khwaja Muhammad Asif, and Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are among the members of the Committee. In addition, representatives of textile industry identified by government of Punjab would also be included in the committee along with any other member co-opted by the chairman.
Last week, the decision to suspend the gas load management plan for the textile units in Punjab province was taken after a delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and other textile related representatives met Finance Minister Dar. During the meeting, the APTMA delegation apprised the Minister that the textile units in Punjab were facing a difficult situation due to shortage of gas and the impending gas-shedding plan which had been implemented ahead of schedule.
The delegation said that although some textile units were only using electricity, a majority of units were depended on gas to remain competitive with neighbouring countries. Hence, suspension of gas supply from November till March would starve the textile industry resulting in huge decline in export earnings.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2014-15 that began on July 1, Pakistan’s exports of textiles and garments declined marginally by 3.99 per cent year-on-year to US$ 3.417 billion according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.