- Association’s chief says textile mills are unable to absorb inflation
- Asks govt to fix power price at Rs7/unit, demands cut in gas prices
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab has announced a series of protests until the government bows to the industry’s demands.
APTMA Punjab Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan, while addressing a press conference at the APTMA Punjab office, announced that there would be a weekly sit-in protest every Tuesday outside the APTMA Punjab office by members of APTMA Punjab, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association and other associations if the government did not accept their demands.
APTMA Central Chairman Aamir Fayyaz, group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz and other senior leaders were also present on the occasion.
Members of the APTMA Punjab also staged a sit-in outside the association’s office. They were carrying placards inscribed with their demands and wore black ribbons on their arms. Protest banners were also displayed at the outer walls of the association’s office.
Meanwhile, a large number of workers also protested by carrying black flags outside textile mills across the province.
The APTMA Punjab chairman told media persons that some 70 member mills had already been closed down due to high cost of raw material as they were unable to absorb inflation. “Textile exports have also declined by $1.8 billion during the past three years,” he went on to say.
Ahsan further said that India and other regional competitors were constantly dumping their subsidised products in the domestic market, which played havoc with the local industry.
He said thousands of textile workers had been laid off by the member mills, as the textile business had become unviable in the province.
He warned that cotton farmers would become direct victims of the situation in case the government failed to address their concerns forthwith.
APTMA leadership has demanded supply of electricity at Rs7 per unit to textile mills. They have also demand cut in gas prices, and new RLNG connections for textile units to avert a crisis in the future.
The APTMA has also demanded the government fixed the price difference of Rs 5.5 per MMBTU for gas supply to Punjab-based textile mills as against the prices fixed for other provinces.
PTEA Chairman, Ajmal Farooq condemned the government’s discriminatory attitude towards the Punjab-based textile industry and said that the provincial industrial sector was faced with severe losses and closure of operations.
He said with the recent announcement of reduction in industrial gas tariff, gas prices for Sindh industries had become Rs 400 per mmbtu; whereas gas tariff for Punjab-based industries is over Rs900 per mmbtu of RLNG. “With huge difference of 120 percent in gas prices how can we survive,” he questioned.
FCCI President, Sheikh Muhammad Saeed, deplored the government’s lack of concern for the reasons behind the industrial crisis and warned that the situation may become more alarming in the coming months as 50 percent of the industrial capacity in Punjab has become dysfunctional.
Sources state that the local industry is being destroyed as a result of the dumping of thread and fabric imported from India.