FAISALABAD - The Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), Khurianwala Industrial Estate Association (KIEA), Dyes & Chemical Association, Soap Manufactures Association, Power Looms Association, Sizing Association Faisalabad, Ice Manufacturers Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, Faisalabad Foundry Association, All Pakistan Textile Association peacefully marched on Monday against unacceptable discriminatory distribution of R&D, increased interest costs and exorbitant increase in tariffs of all utilities, particularly gas and electricity. The industrialists of Faisalabad said that these sharp increases have lead to enormous burden in the cost of production, making it virtually impossible for fair and competitive business. They announced that the FCCI and all aforesaid associations along with other business and trade associations have decided to close down all manufacturing as of July 11 for an indefinite period till such time that the government makes a sincere and serious effort to reinstate R&D on the same basis as in the past, reduce interest rates, and reduces cost of gas and electricity to the same level as before the budget. Earlier, President FCCI Khawaja Asim Khursheed clarified that many industries in and around Faisalabad employs more than a million people and earns foreign exchange worth over $ 3 billion per annum. The closure of industries is going to cause huge unemployment and humanitarian issues, adding to the misery of the people already groaning under the weight of galloping inflation and high cost of living. "The government will lose huge revenues and should not expect any repayment of loans and mark-up under this extremely hostile environment for business and industry," he said. He said that FCCI along with other associations have no choice but to caution the government that indefinite closure of industry will have grave economic and social consequences. He said it is in the interest of the government to resolve these issues immediately. Meanwhile, Tahir Ishaq Bharara, Chairman PPTEA, said that foreign buyers are not finalizing textile inventory for Christmas supplies in view of uncertain export policies at home exorbitant gas price hike, suspension of R&D support and Commercial Credit squeeze. "Many exporters have rushed to their European and American buyers for damage control and in a desperate attempt to save their textile export orders", he said. He said increase in cost of production is the major irritant in the wake of international raise in prices of gas, petroleum and electricity. This is compounded by the burden of protective duties on local purchase of raw material like polyester fiber, soda caustic and cross subsidies on gas supplies to fertilizer sector at the cost of textile sector, he said. Textile exporters are unable to compete with their regional rivals with such heavy input burden on their manufacturing cost, he added. Some marginal relief available in shape of R&D support has been suspended further augmenting the crumbling textile export sector troubles, he said. Yet another bottleneck in the way of expansion of turnover in textile exporters is excessive mark-up rate being charged by commercial banks. Resultantly the exporters are unable to increase their export turn over. He cited the relief being provided by Indian govt to their exporters where the exporters are re-imbrues five percent of the mark up on their exports. Proverbial last straw on camel's back is the unprecedented hike of 31% (general) and 68% (captive power) on gas supply, he said. This abnormal raise has rendered a severe blow to the manufacturing process and it has become unfeasible rather impossible to continue to run textile mills under these circumstances. The textile industry and the textile exporters are therefore constrained to close down their manufacturing units resulting in loss of jobs for millions of workers and thousands of ancillary suppliers and contractors, he said. Ultimately this would cause a huge set back to national economy as the textile sector is major economic performer contributing 60% of exports, 8.5% of GDP and providing 40% employment to national work force, he said. As a way out of the current morass he proposed level playing field for export total zero rating of exports, freezing of input prices, with drawl of gas, electricity hikes and easy commercial credit facilities for exports.