LAHORE - The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited Managing Director Arif Hameed has announced to continue gas supply to textile industry in Punjab, however the rest of industrial sectors will face disconnection if gas shortage worsened.

Addressing a press conference here at APTMA Punjab Office, the SNGPL MD assured no disconnection of gas supply for textile industry on condition of better weather position due to textile’s major contribution both in export and employment generation.

Addressing the press conference, Aptma Central Chairman S.M Tanveer said that textile industry viability will be questioned if the Punjab mills are deprived of gas supply in winter. He apprehended that the industry would face complete closures in case the SNGPL fails to ensure gas supply to the production units during winter. Already, he said, 35 percent of the textile industry has been closed till date, causing a drop in exports worth $1 billion in quantity terms. The industry is apprehended to lose a total of $2.5 billion dollar exports in case the industry remains non-operational during winter, he added. S M Tanveer said such a situation would play havoc with the industry, as it would inflict negative impact on the country’s exports.He said the cotton prices are on decreasing trend because of the inability of the industry to procure due to the prevailing confusion whether the production units would be operational or not during winter. It would also render 10 million workers jobless and procurement of five millions cotton bales would be at halt due to suspension of operations.

Chairman APMTA Punjab Seth Akbar emphasized the importance of retention of gas supply for the textile industry and assured of full cooperation with the SNGPL management in case of scarcity of gas on the SNGPL network. Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz appreciated the textile industry-friendly approach of the MD SNGPL and said that the industry has pinned high hopes on the SNGPL for continuous gas supply during upcoming winters.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government to immediately stop discrimination in gas supply to Punjab industry as four month suspension of gas would prove last nail in the coffin and would be putting the jobs of millions people and exports of billion dollars at stake.  LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that gas closure for Punjab Industry is a well-calculated and well thought-out conspiracy against the present regime. “The rise in number of unemployed would definitely give air to anti-government sentiments and this single step would throw millions of industrial workers out of jobs.” LCCI President said that it is not the industry only that would be suffering massively but the government would also be an ultimate loser on many counts.

“Government would have to reset its priorities regarding provision of gas and stop discrimination immediately otherwise situation would go out of hands”. He urged the government to immediately shelve the proposed “Industry Closure Plan” to avert industrial closures and resultant massive lay offs. “How can the industry afford to pay the all-time high mark up when there in no gas for the industry.” Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that there is a global phenomenon that industry is given top priority whereas in Pakistan it comes to the least and other sectors are given priority. He also urged the government to get replaced obsolete gas geysers and heaters with latest solar geysers and heaters to ensure gas to the industry.     LCCI President said that around 40 per cent of the industrial units in Punjab run on gas and gas suspension means no production by almost half of the industry and a loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer.