Industries from Punjab relocating to India and Bangladesh
May 11, 2012
For most of the time in the history of Pakistan the hostile winds have been blowing in the direction of country’s largest populated province, Punjab. The Punjab was the center of criticism, allegedly for eating up the resources of other provinces, but the time has changed- sense of victimization is now growing in the Punjab, particularly among the industrialists.
The country is facing acute energy crisis not because the vital natural resources, oil and gas are costly or depleting, but because of poor management. The dwellers of all provinces are suffering due to prolong load shedding of gas and electricity but the inhabitants of Punjab are suffering more than others. The industries are main target of power crisis, many industrial units have been closed while remaining are in the process of closure. “Punjab’s industries get gas for four days only and suffer 6 to 12 hours electricity load shedding daily” says Rehan Naseem Bharara, Vice President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and industry FCCI adding that “the gas load shedding should be equally shared by all provinces”. He called for the implementation of decision made at the second national energy conference held last month in Lahore.
What ever we are producing in Punjab is carrying made in Pakistan tag not made in Punjab. Country’s 60 percent textile industry is based in Punjab. The energy crisis has badly hit exports from the country and has suffered the losses up to $1.83 billion. “In past we would compete with India, China and Bangladesh but now were are competing with ourselves”, Bharara observed.
The energy crisis are genuine or engineered its chief beneficiaries are Pakistan’s rivals India and Bangladesh. According to some estimates during last couple of years more than 150,000 power looms have been shifted to Bangladesh leaving behind thousands of people unemployed. The energy crisis has rendered more than 15 million people jobless, directly or indirectly, in the province and paved the way for social unrest, evident from the growing riots across the province.
Electricity and gas load shedding and fuel adjustment charges have made it impossible to continue business says Waheed Khalid Ramay, Chairman, Council of Loom Owners Association. “Recently around 15,000 looms have been shut down and remaining are on the verge of closure”, Ramay observed adding that the pace of industrial relocation to other countries, India and Bangladesh is very high. Relocation of industrial units has left around 30,000 workers unemployed, victims are mainly women.
According to Ramay the cost of production is quite high and demand of products is declining due to higher prices, apart from that the liquidity crunch is also adversely impacting business.
As the Punjab is largest populated province of the country so are its problems. People of the province say that the things were all right until the Sharifs were part of the ruling coalition but when they opted out the government started victimization of people of province. What ever the situation is the federal government is responsible for the energy crisis.
The government is planning to announce federal budget for fiscal year 2012-13 next months. The convicted prime minister Gilani has state that he will announce 100,000 jobs in the budget. The current economic situation demands for reforms and rational policies so that way for investment is cleared. In the current situation only public entity will be burdened with additional manpower rather creating new job opportunities.
On Labour day PM Gilani announced to increase minimum wage to Rs 8000 from current Rs 7000 while Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif outsmarted him by announcing Rs 9000 for the workers of his province. While announcing this they both forgot that who will pay the wages in the face of industrial closure.
Investor knows no boundaries and only suitable environment is needed to attract him. Due to law and order situation and energy crisis Pakistan has lost its position as investment destination. The government of PM Gilani has never taken economy seriously and remained embroiled in political issues through out its four years. The industrials of Punjab demand that Gilani should at least fulfill his commitment by implementing uniform load shedding across the country otherwise Pakistan will be suffer humongous losses in coming days.