LAHORE - The Aptma has expressed grave concerns over continuous decline in textile exports over the last six months and apprehended further loss in case the energy crisis persists, particularly in upcoming winter. Aptma Central chairman S.M Tanveer said that the export data for the month of September 2014 suggests that exports of cotton yarn and cotton cloth has declined by around 22% and 14% against the corresponding period.

He said growth in value added exports goods is also below the potential, particularly in view of the GSP plus facility from the EU. The exports of bed wear are also down by over three percent.

Already, he said, the export figures are showing declining trend since April 2014 by 26% and 11% in cotton yarn and cotton cloth on an average against the corresponding period.

He said an unprecedented fall in textile exports is clear indication of the fact that the textile industry, particularly the Punjab-based, is unable to tap its potential in accordance with its capacity. It is becoming difficult for textile millers to procure cotton, a situation causing problem for cotton farmers, ginners and the industry itself, he added. He said the Prime reason behind the prevailing situation is eight hours a day electricity and 16 hours a day gas load shedding for the Punjab-based textile mills.

This adverse situation has resulted into closure of 100 mills, both fully as well as partially, in the province. Today, he said, the electricity bill constitutes the to post item amongst the input costs, thus making the industry dependent upon continuous supply. He apprehended that the textile industry will lose $2.3 billion exports in case no immediate redressal on energy supply is taken up by the government. S M Tanveer further pointed out that an increase in the industrial tariff twice during 2013 and the slapping of a 30 paisa per unit equalization surcharge this month has jacked up the off peak industrial tariff from Rs7.75 to Rs12.50 per unit, which has burdened the Punjab-based textile industry heavily, as it is consuming 84% of total industrial consumption on PEPCO network.

He said the average cost of energy in other provinces is Rs7 per unit due to uninterrupted gas supply to the captive power plants. Accordingly, he said, the Punjab-based textile mills have been burdened with Rs80 billion additional cost due to tariff increase. The non-availability of energy is adding fuel to fire in this situation, leading to large-scale closures where already an export potential of $3 billion is non-operational.