LAHORE - The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), while rejecting the proposed three-day gas cut plan of the SNGPL to the textile industry, has said that it would lead to the direct and indirect job losses of over 17 million. APTMA Chairman Gohar Ejaz said that the APTMA team is meeting with the President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday (today) to brief him in this regard, asking the president to direct the SNGPL for immediately reverting back to five days a week uninterrupted gas supply to the textile sector. He said that presently, the industry is hesitant to take decision for cotton procurement in the wake of gas curtailment by the SNGPL. Floods affected farmers are badly in need of cash to pay back the expenses incurred on cotton sowing, he observed. A closure of textile mills for three days in this situation would hurt farmers interest and cause a setback to the whole textile value chain in the country, he added. According to him, the gas supply suspension, besides affecting exports, would also cause job losses to the textile workers. He has termed it negation to the earlier arrangement of uninterrupted five days a week gas supply to the textile industry assured both by the President of Pakistan and Federal Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources. The APTMA spokesman expressed the fear that present curtailment of gas would lead to huge production loss to the textile industry. This is high time for the textile industry to secure export orders for winter and fall season in the western markets. The textile industry, therefore, cannot afford to suspend its operations due to non-availability of gas, he added. He said as the government has decided to pull out from the IMF programme, it is therefore imperative to let textile industry perform to earn foreign exchange to maintain balance of payment. The curtailment of gas in this critical situation is likely to hit textile industrys potential to perform. Chairman APTMA Gohar Ejaz demanded 6.5 percent cut in interest rate as the regional competitors including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China have responded to the global cotton crisis through devising different support measures for their textile industries. He urged the policymakers to realize the fact that inflation cannot be exported to the US and the EU markets offering below 1 per cent policy interest rate to industrial sector since last three years. He said that just 0.5 or 1 percent cut in markup rate in the coming monetary policy will do no benefit to the industry. Chairman APTMA said the government should not force its exporting industry to bankruptcy because of wrong policy and bring interest rates down to 7.5 per cent. He said the textile industry achieved $14 billion exports during outgoing fiscal year. He said that the textile industry is operating below 70 per cent efficiency due to energy issues, adverse law and order situation and a financial challenge of paying 14 per cent interest to the bank against short-term and long-term requirements of capital. He said that the high interest rate is being charged to the industry on an obsolete economic myth from policy makers that it is the only way of controlling inflation.