KARACHI: The business leaders of industrial zones of Karachi have appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to restore gas supply to all industries.
While fervently appealing Prime Minister Imran Khan and his aides to immediately restore gas supply to all industrial zones of Karachi whose gas supply remains suspended since last more than 100 days, Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) Zubair Motiwala, Vice Chairman BMG & Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum Jawed Bilwani and President Karachi Chamber Muhammad Idrees have stressed that the federal government must save its repute by putting an end to the discriminatory treatment being suffered by this city since long which has not only aggravated miseries for the business community and the Karachiites but has also dented the government’s efforts to ensure ease of doing business.
Addressing a presser at Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Monday, Business Leaders urged that in order to revive the industrial activities, Sindh’s gas has to be returned to the province as it was highly unfair to keep the industries of Karachi deprived of Sindh’s own gas resources. They said that the industries of Karachi were deeply shocked and totally disappointed with the Government for neglecting and ignoring the repeated appeals and press releases over looming gas/ RLNG crises and remains indecisive in the burning matter for the last more than 100 days.
General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain along with President Site Association of Industry Abdul Rasheed, President Federal B. Area of Trade & Industry Haroon Shamsi, President Korangi Association of Trade & Industry Salman Aslam, Representative of Landhi Association of Trade & Industry Ajmal Afzal, President North Karachi Association of Trade & Industry Faisal Moiz, President Bin Qasim Association of Trade & Industry Elahi Buksh and President Site Superhighway Association of Industry Aamir Hassan Lari attended the presser. From Value-Added Textile Associations, Zonal Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) Abdul Rehman, Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Sheikh Shafiq Jhok Wala, Chairman Pakistan Knitwear & Sweaters Manufacturers & Exporters Association Kamran Chandna, Chairman Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparel Manufacturers & Exporters Association Aitazaz Ahmed Japanwala, Chairman Towel Manufacturers Association Kashif Mehtab Chawla, Chairman Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association Asif Javed & Chairman Pakistan Denim Manufacturer & Exporters Association Asif Riaz Tata also participated.
Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala said that the Government’s promises and commitments to assure supply of gas to export industries appear to be an eyewash and a mere lip-service. It was highly unfair to deprive Karachi from Gas/ RLNG as this city, being the textile and industrial hub of Pakistan, alone contributes 68 percent revenue to the national exchequer and 54 percent to national exports while 52 percent of textile exports also take place from Karachi.
“Yet this matchless contribution is not being taken into consideration and Karachi continues to undergo discrimination that has led to causing severe production losses of more than 66 percent due to reduced or no supply of gas. The inequitable conduct and discriminatory treatment with Karachi were totally unconstitutional hence intolerable and highly deplorable”, he said while fearing that the discriminatory actions/ policy towards Karachi will not only cause the industry to cripple but would also tarnish the vision of Prime Minister.
Chairman BMG further stated that the rising demand for gas in Baluchistan during winter season was being fulfilled by SSGCL alone which receives 125mmcfd gas from Sui whereas SNGPL, which takes away 180mmcfd from Sui, stands completely spared from sharing the burden of rising gas demand in Baluchistan which was beyond anyone’s understanding. “We firmly believe that the rising demand for gas in Baluchistan has to be meted out by SSGCL and SNGPL as per ratio of gas being received by them which means that the extra demand of 160mmcfd in Baluchistan during winter should be rationally divided with 41 percent (65mmcfd) burden on SSGCL and the remaining 59 percent (95mmcfd) must be borne by SNGPL.”
Zubair Motiwala stressed that a quantum of 211mmcfd gas, which was erroneously allocated to SNGPL in the past and the same has also been recognized by SAPM Gas and DG Gas, needs to be immediately returned to SSGCL. “Last year, the industry of Karachi entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Ministry Commerce to purchase extra quantum of gas at higher price for a period of five months to match the demand. However, we were denied of the same this year due to lack of planning.”
Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum Jawed Bilwani mentioned that Prime Minister’s excellent policy pertaining to Long Term Financing Facility (LTFF) encouraged industrialists to invest more than US$3 billion on purchase of machineries/ equipment which was likely to promote industrialization but this policy will be wasted due to unavailability and unjustified distribution of gas.
Bilwani said that the Value-Added Textile Export Industries were saddened over such unwelcoming act and behavior of the Federal Government. Surprisingly, Government is well aware that the downfall in exports will also result into downward revision in the national revenue and will also negatively impact the foreign exchange coming to Pakistan where the national exports will ultimately face sharp decline, nevertheless, no response and continuous silence of the Government is not understood?
He said that repeated appeals in the print media without any response from the Government has also tarnished the soft and positive image of Pakistan in the eyes of international community around the globe and has also raised several questions in the Diplomatic Missions of friendly countries in Pakistan whereby the Ambassadors and diplomats in Islamabad and Karachi have been continuously observing the situation and they may send their advisories to the buyers of their countries which may result to disruption or discontinuation of existing and new export orders.
Addressing the presser, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees opined that instead of pursuing the pick & choose strategy, gas has to be supplied without any differentiation to all the industries including General, SMEs and export-oriented industries as they all go hand-in-hand. The government has to realize that the general industries were an integral part of the value chain for exports which drive the economy.
He was of the view that neglect and disregard of repeated appeals of the industries of Karachi has also depicted a dark picture of Pakistan in the eyes of international community as the sitting Government which claims to be business and export friendly, has thus far not yet showed any concern towards the industrial slowdown and shattered export production in Karachi.
BMG and KCCI Leadership along with Presidents of all other Trade Associations informed that the industries of Karachi were also being victimized and denied of other alternate fuels like Furnace Oil as the Department of Explosives, Petroleum Division was also not granting the required license to export industries which they applied for around two months ago. Production of export industries has come to a complete halt as they have no other alternate energy or power connection/ source.
They said that empty Containers and Vessels to dispatch export shipments to various destinations worldwide were also not easily available due to ill-planning of the Government as the empty containers have been exported, reportedly, throughout last year, in huge quantities and mother vessels were also not coming to Pakistan. Such neglect on part of the Government was highly deplorable and the valuable struggle and hard efforts of exporters, encompassing over decades, to enhance exports will end in smokes and their new investments for further industrialization will be sabotaged, they added and asked, why should the industries of Karachi suffer on the cost of maladministration and nasty planning of non-serious elements in the Government who were responsible for the ongoing gas crises.
The Industrialists also deplored the misleading contents of appeal of APTMA North Zone published on January 29 wherein the Spinners’ Association has attempted to misinform the Government mentioning that the industries in Sindh were getting required pressure to operate in contravention to the appeals given by APTMA South Zone.
In the national interest, Zubair Motiwala, Jawed Bilwani, Muhammad Idrees and all Presidents of Trade Associations appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to take immediate cognizance of the situation and urgently respond to the Constitutional Right of the business community of Karachi to save the investment of industrialists and protect the soft and positive image of Pakistan globally, otherwise, if such alarming situation prevails, the country may face unrest and uncertainty due to closure of industries in Karachi, massive layoffs and drastic decline in the national exchequer further leading to chaos.