The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has called for exemptions from power outages for exporting SMEs, as the power crisis across Pakistan has intensified and overall electricity shortfall has reached more than 7,000 megawatts.
PRGME north zone chairman Sheikh Luqman Amin asked the authorities to take quick action, taking notice of forced load shedding in the export industry because of non-availability of fuel, technical faults, failure in purchasing of fuel and maintenance of the power plants, leading to crunch of thousands of megawatts across the country and particularly in the export hub of Sialkot. He remarked that exporters would not be able to meet timely shipments due to closure of one shift while local supplies of goods would also face problems.
As the residents continue to face massive power failures, the distribution companies have now extended the scope of load shedding towards the industrial sector by conducting 8 to 12 hours power cuts.
Export industries in Sialkot, Faisalabad and Lahore are facing various durations of power breakdowns, as many units have closed down their night shift production owing to non-availability of power while others might follow the suit. Closure of the night shift would hit over 30 percent of total production of the manufacturer, he added.
Sheikh Luqman Amin said that load shedding is being carried out on the pretext of furnace oil shortage, recalling that a week ago, DISCOs authorities had assured industries not to carry out load shedding, but then suddenly started it on an hour's notice.
He said that the 10-hour load shedding would affect 30% of production and hit exports, he said, urging Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to save Sialkot from anti-industry policy, as the city is hit by load shedding the most.
Sheikh Luqman urged the government to end load shedding from the industrial area as power interruption is causing drastic effects on production and exports.
He feared power outages would lead to an alarming rise in unemployment in the industries and urged the federal government to immediately resolve the issue. The Prime Minister should take immediate steps and if it's not resolved, the situation may become more serious, he added.
PRGMEA NZ chief said that all the major industrial cities of the country are facing electricity load shedding due to which the production activities are badly suffering. He said that rural areas are also reportedly facing severe load shedding at a time when the mercury is on the rise and this situation is making the life of common man more miserable.
He expressed concern over long power outages and stressed the need to rectify technical faults immediately. He also called for urgent measures not only to improve the economic situation but also to overcome the power shortage.