The textile sector has strongly criticised government’s plan to end supply of subsidised gas to the export-oriented industry and demanded the leadership to provide the input at a competitive rate of Rs6.5 per unit.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) Chairman Shahzad Azam Khan requested the leadership to continue subsidy on electricity and gas to support the momentum of growth in exports during fiscal year 2021-22.

In August 2021, the government approved Rs68 billion for extension of concessional rates of electricity and gas which should now be utilised to provide energy at regionally competitive rates to steer sustained increase in exports, he said.

Khan emphasised the need to incentivise export-oriented sectors to lift exports to the next level as knitwear garments export had increased by 36.57% during fiscal year 2020-21.

In addition, Pakistan’s overall exports jumped to $25.3 billion in FY21 and the textile group held the highest share of 60.86% in it.

According to PHMA central chairman, Pakistan’s exports of knitwear, other knitted garments and hosiery played a key role in export growth.

In a separate statement, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) urged the government to prioritise energy supply to the value-added apparel industry at competitive rates similar to the pattern of Bangladesh. Officials from the association lamented that the government hiked the average power tariff by over 40% during the last three years followed by a proposed hike in the gas rates through withdrawal of subsidy on the export industry.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2021.

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