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More industries to halt operations, warns value-added textile sector



  • Value-added textile sector warns of job losses. 
  • Says exports have declined sharply. 
  • Around 7 million workers likely to lose jobs. 

KARACHI: Lamenting the current economic crisis, Pakistan’s value-added textile sector feared that more industries would halt their operations, which would increase the number of layoffs, The News reported Tuesday.

Associations representing the value-added textile sector, while speaking during a joint presser, said that other exports have declined sharply along with textiles. They said that it is likely to further decline to the lowest ebb amid dangerously low foreign exchange reserves.

Participants included Value-Added Textile Forum Coordinator and Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Muhammad Babar Khan, PHMA Zonal Chairman Khizer Mehboob, Pakistan Knitwear and Sweater Exporters Association Chairman Rafiq Godil, Pakistan Cloth Merchants Association former chairman Abdul Samad, and chairman of the Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan.

They pointed out that industries were compelled to shut down and lay off around 7 million workers, of which 4 million were the textile sector’s workforce.

Raising the matter of letters of credit, the industry representatives said that import of necessary raw materials and accessories with even nominal values such as $5,000 were denied, which dented export orders. This caused severe disruption and delays in completion and even cancellation of export orders.

This situation also led to port demurrage of various consignments, which exceeded the cost of those materials that were damaged and would now be auctioned as they were of no use to export industries.

Recently, textile exporters were also deprived of their remittances to participate in a global textile exhibition scheduled in Germany and barred from sending exhibition materials via an international courier. Participation only became possible after the intervention of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, which sought special permission from the State Bank of Pakistan for the purpose.

The value-added sector demanded the government to give it first priority instead of third in imports of raw materials compared to the imports of even essentials like wheat and edible oil and energy.

Decrying the delay in the release of sales tax refunds, they asked the government to disburse the amount in 72 hours after approval of eRPOs instead of delaying it for two months.

Industrialists have lost faith in the government because of its failure to strengthen the economy. It was impossible to operate under extreme financial stress and an economic crisis. All priority should be given to the value-added textile exporters, the presser participants demanded. The government should allow exporters to spend 20% of their foreign remittances on the import of raw material and accessories.

SBP has already allowed exporters to retain 10% of their export proceeds in Exporters Special Foreign Currency Account to spend these US dollars on various purpose e.g. foreign consultant payment, hotel booking and travelling, payment for IT equipment and software, lab testing charges, audit/ inspection/ certification charges etc.

Talking about the gas crisis, the industrialists said that amid the gas crisis in the country, particularly in Karachi, they felt deprived of a level playing field and a viable business environment.

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High electricity prices moving beyond consumers’ affordability: study




A study found that rising electricity tariffs are increasingly moving beyond the affordability of the masses and adversely impacting their consumption patterns. 

The study was conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad titled “Impact of Rising Electricity Prices on Consumer Behavior: The Case of Power Distribution Companies in Pakistan”. 

The research study covered over 1,000 households and 140 shop owners in the top 10 cities of Pakistan.

The survey results indicate that most of the respondents have experienced moderate to significant increases in their electricity bills in recent months. 

The study further highlights the correlation between the magnitude of the bill increase and the extent of consumption reduction, indicating that higher price hikes lead to more significant efforts in reducing electricity usage. 

However, despite the overall reduction in electricity consumption, a significant portion of the survey participants reported no noticeable decrease in their bills.

It recommends the need for improved governance and regulatory measures in the energy sector along with affordable electricity tariffs and alternative payment options to accommodate different economic circumstances. 

The study also stresses the importance of addressing issues such as load shedding and raising consumer awareness about peak hours when electricity costs are higher.

Moreover, it also found that the alarming trend also caused a sharp decline in the recoveries of distribution companies (DISCOs) which can lead to difficulties in paying for power purchases from the generation companies, maintaining distribution networks, and servicing debts.

These factors further hinder the ability of DISCOs to invest in infrastructure upgrades, provide quality services, and improve the overall reliability of electricity supply.

The research emphasises effective measures to address power affordability concerns and suggests strategies for distribution companies to mitigate the negative effects of rising prices. 

Overall, the study provides valuable insights into the impact of rising electricity prices on consumer behaviour in Pakistan and offers recommendations for DISCOs and policymakers to address affordability concerns and ensure a sustainable balance between electricity prices and consumers’ ability to bear these costs.

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Will petrol price drop by Rs100 in Pakistan after Russian oil import?




With all the hype around Russian oil, the foremost question that every Pakistani has is what effect the imported oil will have on the high fuel prices.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal answered the question in a recent interview with Voice of America (Urdu).

When asked whether the price of petrol — which had reached a record high of Rs282 per litre and currently stands at Rs272 per litre — would be slashed by Rs100 once Russian oil reached Pakistan, the minister responded in the negative.

“There might not be a significant difference,” he said. However, the price would “definitely reduce” once Pakistan started importing large quantities of Russian oil, he added.

“At the beginning, the quantity of imported oil is small, but as it increases in six months to a year, it will help reduce petrol prices,” Iqbal said.

Pakistan and Russia had been negotiating an oil deal for months before reaching an agreement in April.

The first shipment of Russian oil is expected to dock at the Karachi port in late May, State Minister for Petroleum Mussadik Malik had said last month. The country would seek to import 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Russian crude oil if the first transaction went smoothly, he had added.

Initially, the Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) would refine the crude oil in a trial run, to be followed later by Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) and other refineries.

A day earlier, Malik shared that Pakistan plans to import one-third of the country’s total crude oil requirements from Russia.

The state minister revealed that the government has finalised a comprehensive energy security agreement with Russia, which would cover different aspects of the energy supply in the country.

Malik said: “We want to open an energy corridor with Central Asia like the one we have with Gulf countries.”

“This would reduce the cost of energy in the country and would be helpful in the development of industrial clusters and value additions in the agriculture sector,” he maintained.

The minister revealed that the government’s objective is to import 18-20% of its total crude oil imports from Russia, with the hope that this move will substantially lower petroleum product prices for domestic consumers.

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Power consumers to pay Re0.79 per unit more as March FCA




  • The amount will be recovered from power consumers in May.
  • The adjustment will be shown separately in consumers’ bills.
  • Charges applicable on all categories except lifeline and EVCS.

ISLAMABAD: Power consumers, who are already overburdened by soaring inflation and high fuel and electricity costs, will now have to pay Re0.79 per unit more in the month of May.

According to a notification issued by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Thursday, the additional amount is being levied in lieu of fuel cost adjustment (FCA) charges for March.

The charges would be applicable to all consumer categories except electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) and lifeline consumers, the notification stated.

“The said adjustment will be shown separately in the consumers’ bills on the basis of units billed to the consumers in the month of March 2023,” it added.

In March, Nepra allowed power distribution companies (Discos) and K-Electric to recover deferred fuel adjustment surcharges up to Rs14.24 per unit from consumers in eight months.

According to the Nepra decision, discos will recover Rs10.34 per unit from domestic protected consumers using 0-200 units per month, Rs14.24 per unit from non-protected consumers using 0-200 units, Rs14.24 per unit from those consuming 201-300 units per month, and Rs9.90 per unit from private agricultural consumers.

The entire amount would be recovered from the electricity consumers in monthly instalments from March to October 2023.

In its decision, the authority also allowed K-Electric to recover the deferred fuel adjustment surcharge from the consumers up to Rs 13.87 per unit.

K-Electric will recover Rs9.97/unit from domestic protected consumers using 0-200 units per month, Rs13.87 per unit from non-protected consumers using 0-200 units, Rs13.87 per unit from those consuming 201-300 units per month, and Rs9.90 per unit from private agricultural consumers. The private lender will also recover the amount from March to October 2023.

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