Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged upon the government to reduce cost of doing-business in textile and clothing sector if the textile industry failed in competing in the global market the country would go bankrupt and millions of people would be affected.
President of MCCI Fareed Mughis Sheikh said that unemployment of textile workers is on the rise in Punjab because of the delay in the announcement of textile package by the government. He said that long term textile policy must be announced for the revival of textile Industry.
He said over two dozen mills have been totally closed down in the province while a large number of mills have reduced their operations to one or two shifts, which has left thousands of textile workers jobless. Fareed Sheikh said the exports data of last four months showed a significant decline in textile exports but the government was delaying the announcement of textile package since August.
“So much so, meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also proved useless, as he had given a commitment of resolving textile industry issues in September,” he added. The MCCI president lamented that the month of November is near to an end but there is no clue of any textile package by the government. “The textile workers are losing their jobs one after another and the government is still considering the textile package,” he argued.
He said, “MCCI recommend that textile industry should be declared as a ‘priority’ sector for application of a separate lower gas tariff in line with rates prevailing in Bangladesh.” He said that power tariffs prevailing in the country were also on higher side and needed to be rationalised. The government should also devise a strategy to bring at par the cost of furnace oil-based generation with gas generation. He said the textile industry is considered to be the growth engine and employment generator in the region but the government is showing a cold shoulder to the textile industry, which is quite confusing.
Sheikh said the government was not announcing a long-term policy for the revival of textile industry relative to India, Bangladesh and China where extensive support is being provided to the textile industry for mass job creation.
He said the textile exports have declined in terms of quantity and value, which is leading to joblessness. “Textile industry of Punjab, which is about 70% of total textile of Pakistan, is facing serious viability issues due to unprecedented energy cuts whereas industries in other provinces are being provided gas supply on continuous basis throughout the year,” he added.
Quoting figures, he stated that during 2010, gas supply was above 73 percent available on average, however, this year the availability has come down to only 25 percent, which has further reduced to 16.67 percent recently by SNGPL. He said the revival of textile mills would be impossible once they closed down their operations due to viability issues, adding that structures of many mills have turned into godowns, and the land is being utilised for housing societies.