Knitwear industry considering to go on protest if levies on power tariff not reversed by weekend


LAHORE: The members of value-added knitwear industry have threatened to go on strike if government’s commitment of providing electricity to the export sector at regionally competitive rate of 7.5 cents/KWh is not fulfilled by Monday, next week. The executive body as well as the majority members of the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) in a meeting held today at PHMA regional office with its vice chairman Shafiq Butt in the chair, have assured their leadership that the whole export industry is ready to come to streets for mass protests if the surcharges and extra levies are not taken back immediately. Some members also urged their leadership to consider other options of road blockade or closure of mills to pursue the government for fulfillment of its commitment, as high power tariff would hit Pakistan’s exports and discourage investment. Addressing the meeting, PHMA vice chairman Shafiq Butt said that the body in its next meeting likely to be held on Tuesday, Feb 18, will decide the next strategy. Expressing grave concern over the imposition of surcharges, taxes and fuel adjustment charges on power supply to the export-oriented sectors by the Power Division, he said if the extra charges were not withdrawn, they would threaten Pakistan’s exports, spark a crisis in the textile industry, which is fulfilling its commitment of enhancing exports. He stated that in January 2019, the government had announced an all-inclusive tariff of 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the zero-rated export sectors to reduce the production cost in a bid to secure competitive edge in the international market. INP