Karachi (PR): One crisis after another is seriously mauling the ailing and dying Value Added Textile Export Sector and the recent announcement of another increase in electricity charges from 1st August, 2013 would render this vital sector’s exports to be become most uncompetitive in the international market, stated M. Jawed Bilwani, Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association.
He lamented that it is an irony and most surprising that the losses incurred due to theft of electricity by electricity thieves were being put on genuine consumers who pay their electricity bills well within time which is a great travesty of Justice. He seriously emphasized that the power companies must instead concentrate on stopping theft of electricity, line losses and increase their efficiency, all of which was sadly lacking. It is just because of these factors that the present Government was forced to clear Rs. 480 billion circular debt. This was no justification to increase the power tariff. It is indeed a dilemma that power theft through Kundas are even presently blatantly and openly carried out and pictures also shown in the newspapers but the Government of Pakistan seems to be powerless to stop this theft. As far as the Government departments are concerned he said that prepaid electricity meters should be installed with prepaid cards as this would be advance payment system leaving no place for non payment, arrears and theft.
He said that according to the recent announcement by the Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif while he did not disclose the exact hike in the tariff he said it would range between 30 and 70 percent as a result of which consumers would face an increase by Rs.3 to Rs.6 per unit depending on which category they fall in.
He stated that this sudden increase in electricity tariff along with several other adverse factors would render the cost of doing business of the Value Added Textile Sector uncompetitive in the International Market against vigorous competitors such India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other competing countries whose cost of doing business is much lower owing to several subsidies as compared to Pakistan. As it is the Government has failed to provide regular power to the industrial sector specially the Value Added Textile Export Sector with frequent load shedding and also miserable infrastructure, all of which is continuing to make it most difficult for the survival of the Value Added Textile Export Sector.
He said that it was imperative that uninterrupted supply of Electricity is guaranteed to the export Sector with exemption from load shedding. Most important of all, Tariff for Electricity should be fixed on yearly basis for the Export Oriented Manufacturing Sector and Priority should be given only to this sector which has efficient working conditions to avoid energy losses as the Value Added Textile Export Sector has to make commitments for 6 months in advance and such frequent increase all the year round in the electricity tariff jeopardizes their entire planning and they suffer huge losses to keep up their commitments their foreign buyers.
He appealed to the Prime Minister to seriously review this vital matter and issue immediate instructions to withdraw this most draconian increase of electricity tariff which will gravely hamper our exports and foreign exchange earnings.