Energy relief package unlikely to benefit SMEs

LAHORE:

The garment industry has urged the government to remove the condition of extra electricity consumption to make its relief package more practicable for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The prime minister’s energy relief package could only benefit larger units, which were working in multiple shifts, whereas the SME sector was working in a single shift and was not in a position to avail itself of the relief in peak-hour electricity rates, said participants of a meeting of the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA).

Speaking on the occasion, PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail A Sheikh and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar urged the prime minister to remove the restriction of additional utilisation of electricity before finalising a notification for the relief package to make it more comprehensive and viable for the SMEs.

“PRGMEA, on behalf of the whole value-added textile sector, urges the prime minister to take notice of the situation and issue immediate orders to all departments concerned to implement the package after necessary amendments,” he said.

Sheikh stressed that the role of value-added textile sector was vital in the country’s exports and the government should accord top priority to the sector by taking necessary steps to enhance its export efficiency.

He said electricity rates were high in Pakistan and it was for the first time that power tariffs were being reduced. “The decision is good but it will not have a major effect as the government has announced discounts on additional electricity use.”

PRGMEA Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar was of the view that an industrial support package for SMEs through power tariff relief was imperative to sustain some early positive signs in the industrial sector. However, he said, the exporters were confused about its actual shape until it was set in motion through a proper notification.

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