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Power breakdown in Punjab industries causes loss of Rs8.3 billion

Gas and electricity supplies remained suspended in the province on Wednesday, causing a loss of over Rs8.3 billion to the industries operative in the province that have a turnover of Rs3.5 trillion.

According to PEPCO sources, there was a shortfall of 1000MW electricity as the SNGPL abruptly suspended gas supplies to Gencos at 1 am on Wednesday. The power utility in turn suspended power supply to the industrial sectors of the Punjab. The SNGPL sources say that due to some technical fault at Qadirpur gas field they had to suspend gas supplies to both the power and industrial sectors in order to ensure sustained supplies for domestic consumers.

Chairman elect All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Ahsan Bashir said that disruption of power supplies badly impacted the production schedule of the entire textile sector. “More than that the uncertainty created by the dual suspension of gas and electricity has created panic in the industry,” he said.

He added that no one in authority was sure as to when normal supply would be restored. Lahore was expecting restoration of gas supplies on Wednesday morning after two days of scheduled gas closure, he said. Power was restored at about 5 pm but the industry was informed that it would again be suspended at midnight, he added.

“Of the $18 billion textile sector in the country, 70 percent or $12.6 billion industry turnover is in Punjab,” he said. “Suspension of one day of production results in a loss of Rs3.35 billion plus loss of wages to millions of workers,” said Bashir.

Chairman elect Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Adil Butt said that the energy breakdown was a serious problem for contract workers in the apparel sector that arrived at the factories early in the morning after spending a handsome amount on fare.

He said these workers account for 50 percent of the total labour force of the apparel sector and earn their living on a per piece rate basis.

The factories, he added, had no choice but to remain closed due to the non-availability of PEPCO power or natural gas.

President elect Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Farooq Iftikhar said that textiles account for 40 percent of the Punjab’s industrial GDP while other industries have 60 percent share in GDP.

“Besides a production loss of Rs3.35 billion in textiles the loss in other industries amounted to Rs5 billion,” he said. The disruption would badly impact timely shipment of exports, he added. The supply chain of main industries would be disrupted, he said.

“The industry cannot operate profitably under uncertain conditions,” he said. “The planners are eroding the confidence of the foreign buyers by not giving top priority to the industries,” he said. He added that the domestic consumers would survive only if the industries operate.

Former chairman Township Industrial Association Amjad Ali Jawa said that the most painful aspect of the power and energy suspension on Wednesday was the inability of the officials of the power and gas utilities to provide a schedule for the restoration of supplies.

He said the information departments in these institutions should have come up with some explanation.

“As things stand today there is no chance of restoration of gas on Thursday,” said Jawa.

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