KARACHI: Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) has sent gas closure notices for over three months in winters to industries in the city, which they rejected saying that gas outages would lead to massive layoffs and closure of businesses.
“The industries are in a state of shock to receive SSGCL’s notices of gas closure starting from November 15, 2022 to February 28, 2023,” Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and seven other industrial town associations said in a joint statement on Saturday.
KCCI said it had made a committee on gas issue in collaboration with the town associations including SAI, KATI, LATI, FBATI, NKATI, SSHAI, and BQATI, which had highlighted the issue of gas supply to the government in advance.
“The gas closures can not be proved good for the economy, especially this year, as no special arrangements have been made by the government to purchase RLNG to inject in the system.”
The committee said it was expecting appropriate measures from the government to ensure gas supply to the city’s industries, instead of complete gas outages, which would lead to a huge decline in exports and revenue, closure of industries, and layoffs.
The industries said they had floated different proposal to a committee on gas matters formed by the government, and put suggestions to tackle looming shortage of gas in winters. The notices issues to the industries covered none of them, they added.
According to KCCI, their committee had given an idea to the government of closing down gas supply for two days in a week in winters for every 12 hours. A suggestion was given for gas load management on rotation basis to ensure the industrial production was not halted completely, and discussions were also held to close 50 percent captive power plants, it stated.
It continued that they had further suggested to close down captive power plants of the industries having proper power/electricity supply from K-Electric.
It was also discussed that usage of gas shall be closed for CPPs whereas the gas must be ensured to supply gas for operating the industrial boilers. Besides, other measures of energy conservation should also adopted, the joint statement said.
“SSGCL’s gas closure notices issued are also in utter contrast as it is not mentioned how the company will supply gas to export-oriented industries in winters, which is a priority sector.”
Rejecting the gas curtailment plan of the SSGCL KCCI and its affiliated seven industrial town associations asked PM Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to immediately intervene in the matter.
“If we compare it with Pakistan, Bangladesh has accorded priority to industry by supply 961 mmcfd, which is 34 percent share of total gas being supplied to the industries while in Pakistan, gas supply to industries is only 18 percent with a supply of 721 mmcfd only.”
The export industries of Karachi contribute to more than 54 percent in the national exports while the general industries of Karachi also cater more than 50 percent of national need, according to KCCI.
The joint statement demanded the government ensure smooth running of wheels of the industries and save them from a crisis by offering a rationale plan of gas supply to the industries. They also claimed that the SSGCL had issued the gas closure notices with taking the government’s committee into confidence.
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