Peshawar: Textile industry of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa locked out their mills suspending production and took out a protest demonstration.
The sector is the largest employer of the province with 45,000 to 50,000 labour force.
Addressing the demonstrators, chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), KPK Region/ Zone, Mr. Afan Aziz said that the industry had observed black day on the call of the central leadership. He said that textile sector is the largest industrial sector of the country & largest export earner.
He said that textile industry were on countrywide strike and had closed down their mills for one day. This strike was due to unfriendly government policies, which has resulted in complete erosion of viability of textile business. While quoting reasons Aziz said, as a consequence of repeated measures by the current government Pakistan now has the highest cost of utility, Gas and Electricity, in the region this coupled with added taxes and duties has made industry unviable in Pakistan.
To add to this the Indian government has continuously been supporting its textile Industry whose products due to lack of adequate protection to industry are flooding Pakistani markets. India for instance imposes 28% duty on Pakistani yarn while Pakistan imposes 5% duty on Indian Yarn. It is indeed a question mark upon the government’s intention as to why even this disparity is not being addressed, which can be done by the stroke of Pen.
More than 35 textile mills have already shut operations, while over 50 mills/ units have unfortunately closed one shift and are restricting themselves to only two shifts of operation.
Mr. Afan Aziz said that the industry had passed through the worst situation during last three years, but never protested nor demanded any incentive from the government but every year instead of prioritizing this important sector, the government has continuously added cost of doing business by increasing taxes, rate of utilities, gas and electricity and providing unfair advantages to Indian textile producers.
Due to the levy of GIDC and increase in gas tariffs, the cost has reached to $6.7 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu) compared to $4.2 mmbtu in India, $3.1 mmbtu in Bangladesh and $4.2 mmbtu in Vietnam, he said, while building his case on the rising cost of production.
The Aptma KPK chief also said that electricity tariffs in Pakistan are the highest in the region. For instance, average electricity prices among the regional countries are in the range of 6 to 9 cents which is 14.5 cents in Pakistan.
He said that the decision of Government of Pakistan have no precedent in any country of the world as they are discriminatory against their own industry. This must stop as Textile Industry is a national asset.