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Committee dragging feet: Govt in a fix over exempting textiles from gas outages

Committee dragging feet: Govt in a fix over exempting textiles from gas outages

ISLAMABAD: The committee formed under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to determined a mechanism for gas supply to textile sector remained indecisive and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi opposed the government proposed plan to supply gas to the sector.

As per details, the committee, formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, comprising Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister for Textile and Industries Abbas Khan Afridi met in a bid to break the stalemate on exempting textile sector from gas loadshedding.

However, the body led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar remained indecisive to resolve the issue.

It is to be noted that the textile sector has already been exempted from power outages on the directives of the prime minister. He has also directed to provide gas to textile units so that the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan by the European Union could be fully utilised and exports could reasonably increase this financial year by $1 billion under this facility. During the meeting, the petroleum minister stiffly opposed the exemption of textile sector from gas loadshedding, saying that gas was not available even to cater to the needs of domestic sector and domestic demand would increase in the days to come with the rise in the cold.

The petroleum minister said that the stalemate on the issue was still there. He pointed out that this time the government had no gas even to cater to needs of domestic sector as the share of Sui Northern has climbed down by 150-200mmcfd this year. The minister said that in the meeting, the APTMA had been asked to work out its own options for alternate fuels.

The government has provided electricity to this sector without any loadshedding. “I have asked the APTMA representatives to use the LPG in all the value addition processes that are the major part of textile production,” he said.

It is to be noted that under the industry is bound use gas as fuel only for nine months a year and has to switch to other fuel in three months of winter season.

The Petroleum Minister categorically told the committee that there was a severe gas shortage for even domestic consumers and under the circumstances, gas supply to the textiles would aggravated the situation.