Textile export orders drop by $1bn

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir urged the federal government on Wednesday to restore gas supplies to the textile industry as soon as possible, citing a loss of about $1 billion in exports as a result of the gas supply disruption.

At a press conference alongside Aptma North Zone Chief Hamid Zaman and Senior Vice-Chairman Kamran Arshad, he stated that the 26% increase in textile exports during the fiscal year 2021-22 was only achievable due to the availability of electricity at a regionally competitive price.

He added that the textile industry performed brilliantly, with textile exports increasing by 60 percent from $12.5 billion in 2020 to approximately $20 billion in 2022.

He asserted that the textile industry’s exponential expansion has stimulated investments of over $5 billion and the establishment of 100 new textile units, which, once operational, will result in additional exports of $6.0 billion per year.

Over 300 units have been shut down owing to a lack of gas: Aptma.

Mr. Nasir noted that the industry’s gas supply was cut off for a week, nearly halting output in the whole value-added sector and suffering an enormous economic loss.

He noted that the widespread closure of mills has led to significant layoffs and unemployment, causing economic upheaval.

He finds it incomprehensible that the exporting sector, which was planned to boost textile exports to $25 billion by 2022-23, is denied energy and gas. He stated that a continuous gas supply was essential for the business to maintain export momentum.

Mr. Zaman stated that the textile industry has continuously met its goal to increase exports and demonstrated that it is a viable and long-term contributor to the country’s economic stability.

He warned that more than fifty percent of production would be lost this month, with a high probability of permanent order loss and buyer diversion from Pakistan to its rivals.

He noted that the textile industry is already producing goods for the next holiday season and that any delay in the delivery schedule could result in the permanent loss of export markets with little prospect of recovery.

“If this momentum is lost owing to energy supply and cost constraints, Pakistan will be compelled to seek another $6 billion in foreign loans, which may not even be doable under the conditions,” he added, emphasizing the quick restoration of gas supply to the export-oriented industry.

Mr. Arshad stated that textiles account for 61 percent of the country’s exports and 40 percent of manufacturing sector employment, highlighting the importance of the textile industry to the country’s economy. However, the country’s frail economy cannot withstand the effects of the shutdown of mills due to a lack of gas supplies.