Gas shortage shuts textile units in Sindh, Balochistan

QUETTA:APTMA Southern Zone Chairman Zahid Mazhar has expressed deep concern over the severe gas shortage and disruption faced by the textile industry in Sindh and Balochistan.

In statement issued by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on Wednesday, Mazhar revealed that as a consequence, 50% of industries have been compelled to either shut down or operate at only half of their production capacity. This has dealt a heavy blow to manufacturing growth and textile exports in the region.

Despite a 30% increase in gas tariffs imposed by the government in February 2023, the export-oriented textile industry in Sindh and Balochistan continues to struggle with an acute gas crisis. Mazhar highlighted that textile exports from July 2022 to April 2023 have witnessed a staggering decline of over 14% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Chairman Mazhar drew attention to the violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which specifically relates to the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. These provinces account for 85% of the country’s natural gas production. He emphasized the need for prioritizing the gas produced in these provinces for local consumption before considering supplying any surplus to other regions.

He lamented the current situation, stating, “The gas of both provinces is being supplied to Punjab, which is against Article 158.” This violation not only exacerbates the gas shortage but also undermines constitutional provisions.

In addition to the weekly two-day gas closures, the textile industry is grappling with consistently low gas pressure throughout the week. These challenges have resulted in significant production losses, de-industrialization, and widespread unemployment, further intensifying the economic crisis in the region.