LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has expressed concerns over the increase in power tariff from ₵7.5 per kWh to ₵9 in September bills, saying that this increase would play havoc with the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector in the textile value chain.
During a meeting held on Wednesday, APTMA members stated the inflated tariff of ₵9 per kWh shown in Sept bills is 20pc higher than the previous month’s tariff of ₵7.5 per kWh.
They said the year 2020 has already been a challenging one both for the government as well as the industry due to the global outbreak of Covid-19. In view of the massive drop in export orders due to closure of markets, the industry was expecting continuity of ₵7.5 per kWh power tariff, they added.
The participants noted that the average regional power tariff is not more than ₵7 per kWh, adding that this new increase would make Pakistan’s textile value chain uncompetitive in the region.
It was informed that Pakistan’s cost of power production is 26pc higher for the industrial sector compared to other regional countries like Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, South Korea, Thailand and India; whereas it is 28pc costlier for residential areas compared with regional countries.
It is worth noting that the majority of the SMEs in the textile value chain are without gas connections, which means they would have to face an alarming disparity against their regional competitors. The importance of a level-playing field can be estimated from the fact that 70-80 per cent employment is in the SME sector and its growth could address primary issues of the country.
The APTMA members appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan and Power Minister Omar Ayub to take stock of the situation and instruct DISCOs to withdraw electricity bills immediately in the larger interest of the country’s exports, employment and investment.