LAHORE  -  The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Adil Bashir has urged the government to direct the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) to issue revised gas bills to the eligible industry @ $6.5/MMBTU all inclusive on gas consumption for both captive and processing use.

Also, he stressed in the same breath that notification for providing electricity at 7.5 cents/kWh be immediately issued. This will enable the exporting industry to focus on increasing exports and undertaking new investment initiatives, he added.

He was addressing a hurriedly-called press conference at APTMA Punjab office on Monday. Central Chairman APTMA Syed Ali Ahsan was also present on the occasion.

He said a delay in the implementation of energy affordability initiative of the government for revival and growth of the textile industry in Punjab has panicked the industry by and large, as the industry is being billed notified price of RLNG $12.5389/MMBTU instead of $6.5/MMBTU for the month of October 2018. He said $6.5/MMBTU is not inclusive of GIDC.

He said the industry was not in a position to pay these bills and requires an immediate intervention from the government.

According to him, the government, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has announced regionally competitive energy (both gas and electricity) for the exporting industry falling in the 5 zero rated sectors. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its meeting held on 16th September 2018 had decided to provide gas to the exporting industry w.e.f 27th September 2018 at above mentioned rate.

He said the ECC had also decided that gas supply to the industrial sector (exporters of 5 zero-rated sectors and their captive powers (clarified in OGRA notification dated October 2018) namely; textile (including jute), carpets, leather, sports and surgical goods) in Punjab will be revised from 28:72 to 50:50 for domestic gas and RLNG respectively. The weighted average gas tariff of such consumers shall be $6.5/MMBTU. Gas price of similar consumers of SSGC and those of SNGPL in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will remain unchanged.

Furthermore, the priority of allocation of system gas will be revised to bring the 5 zero sectors at 2nd priority along with the power sector.

He said the industry had appreciated the industry friendly approach of the government, as it will increase exports, revive closed capacity and encourage new investment to produce exportable surplus.

However, he lamented that it is unfortunate that interpretation to implement above decision is not only being delayed but also being conveyed contrary to the decision of the ECC and vision of the government. The Ministry of Finance has issued Office Memorandum dated 2nd November 2018 for SNGPL to implement.

The exporting industry, he said, has serious reservations, as the decision of ECC is being implemented from 16th October 2018 instead of 27th September 2018.

He has urged both Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Finance Minister Asad Umar, Advisor on Commerce Razak Dawood and Petroleum & Natural Resources Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan to intervene immediately and bring an end to the uncertainty prevailing all across five zero sectors.