LAHORE     -   The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has said inflated electricity and gas bills for industry are negation of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decision. Addressing a press conference here at APTMA House on Saturday, the APTMA group leader Gohar Ejaz urged the government to ensure implementation of its decisions and take action against the utility companies for creating uncertainty by loading the industry with unnecessary levies and taxes. He lamented that the electricity tariff has unjustly raised to Rs17 per kWh against the agreed tariff of Rs11 per kWh. Similarly, the gas tariff has been increased to Rs1760 per MMBTU from Rs1040 per MMBTU.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman APTMA Syed Ali Ahsan apprehended that the inflated energy bills would adversely impact production and investment of the industry. Chairman APTMA Punjab Adil Bashir said the Association would have no other option but to approach to the courts against inflated bills.

Gohar said the utility companies have burdened the export industry with 40 percent additional cost by issuing inflated bills. This practice should come to an end once and for all and the ministry should take action against those involved in anti-industry conspiracies, he stressed. He congratulated the government over the reduction in the current account deficit to zero during the month of July 2019 for the first time over the last five years. He said the official data for the month of July 2019 shows that exports increased by 14 percent while imports have declined by 18 percent. Meanwhile, remittances for the said month are stood at $2 billion, consequently the current account deficit has almost come to zero. He appreciated the economic managers over this achievement.

However, he pointed out that an increase in exports is a positive sign but a decline in imports, especially those of raw materials and machinery, is not good as it suggests that the size of economy would lead to contraction and it would have negative impact on the economic growth, job creation and industrialisation.

He said the industry vows to build Pakistan through positive contributions while marking 72nd birthday of Pakistan and expressed the hope that the government would materialize the potential of exporting industries through an export-led growth strategy.

He also welcomed and supported the government’s decision of suspending trade with India, saying that APTMA stands with the solidarity of Pakistan and its members would not import Indian cotton, yarn and fabric. He said Pakistan was facing trade deficit of $1.4 billion so far as bilateral trade with India is concerned.