Industries Minister assures APTMA of resolution of gas price hike issue

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal has assured All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) of taking up the issue of gas price hike from $6.5/MMBTU to $9/MMBTU for Export Oriented Units in Punjab with the Federal Government at all appropriate levels while agreeing that it has led to a huge price disparity among provinces.
The Minister was talking to APTMA delegation led by Chairman Northern Zone
Mr. Hamid Zaman including Senior Vice Chairman Mr. Karman Arshad, Secretary General Mr. Raza Baqir and senior members of the Association.
Hamid Zaman briefed the minister about disparity in gas prices between Punjab ad other provinces. He added that upward revision in gas tariff from $ 6.5/MMBTU to $ 9/MMBTU has further widened the gulf of price difference.
He pointed out that gas prices in Sindh and KPK were $ 4.87/MMBTU whereas gas price for industry in Punjab has been raised to $ 9/MMBTU. He added that gas price of $ 4.05/MMBTU in Bangladesh and $ 5.19/MMBTU in India was also much lower than the tariff applicable to Punjab based export industry.
He said the Regionally Competitive Energy Tariff (RCET) provided by the current government over the past 3 years has yielded outstanding results. The industry has delivered to the nation by investing Rs450 billion in machinery for capacity enhancement as per commitment. This has resulted in an increase of $500 million in exports each and every month in FY22 so far. He apprehended that the new projected investment of $5 billion, setting up of 100 new plants and addition of at least 500,000 new jobs with 90 percent of them in Punjab would all be jeopardized with this sudden increase in gas tariff.
Chairman APTMA also urged upon the Provincial government to take up the matter with the Federal Government enabling export oriented industry located in Punjab to compete with the similar units elsewhere in the country as well as export originating from other regional competitors.
APTMA delegation apprised the Minister about the problems being faced by exporters due to closure of private offices from Saturday to Monday in terms of Punjab Government order dated November 22, 2021 issued for smog control measures.
Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal assured APTMA of fullest support from the Punjab Government to make export industry competitive with not only industry in other provinces but also against regional competitors.
The Minister said that Punjab government would leave no stone unturned in supporting smooth functioning and growth of export industry to maintain the momentum of upsurge in exports.
He further said that the government has pinned high hopes on the export-oriented sector for creation of jobs and new investment in the country. He said that development work on the establishment Quaid-e-Azam Park and other industrial zones is in full swing and would be completed by December next year. He hoped that the said zones would serve as industrial hubs equipped with all basic infrastructure and state of the art facilities. He urged the industry to step forward and start planning to set up industrial units at the earliest to contribute towards industrialization of the country and accelerating the pace of economic development.  He invited APTMA delegation to visit Quaid-e-Azam Park next month to physically observe the pace of development. He further stated that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Khan Buzdar both the Federal and Provincial Governments are keen to uplift the industrial activities and the pace of progress is being monitored closely by the leaderships at the highest level.
Mr. Kamran Arshad, Senior Vice Chairman APTMA thanked the Honourable Minister in particular and the Provincial Government in general for their bold initiatives in resolving the issues faced by the industry and hoped that with the continued support of the Government, the whole textile sector would make all out efforts to promote further investment in textile sector and upsurge textile exports. He also apprised the Minister with the salient features of new Textile Policy and vowed the commitment of the industry to accelerate economic activities to bring new investment, create more jobs and to foster exports.