Punjab Minister for Industries and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal has said that textile sector is a major source of employment and exports and its all issues will be resolved on a priority basis. The provincial minister said this while talking to a delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab, which led by its Chairman Hamid Zaman called on him on Tuesday. The provincial minister said that gas supply to the textile sector will be ensured. He said that a letter will be written to the federal government for the supply of gas to this sector and a meeting of the textile sector delegation with the prime minister will also be arranged. Aslam said, “As the provincial minister, it is my responsibility to protect the rights of industrialists of Punjab.” He said that record investment has been made in Punjab in the last three years. The minister said that all possible facilities are being provided to the industrialists. He also assured of taking up the issue of gas price hike from $6.5/MMBTU to $9/MMBTU for the export-oriented units in Punjab with the federal government at all appropriate levels, while agreeing that it has led to a huge price disparity among provinces. Earlier, the delegation apprised the minister of problems facing the textile sector. The chairman Aptma said that the industry fears that the closure of gas supply will lead to the closure of industrial units and unemployment of the people. Zaman briefed the minister about the disparity in gas prices between Punjab and other provinces and said that the upward revision in gas tariff from $6.5/MMBTU to $9/MMBTU has further widened the gulf of price difference. He said that gas prices in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are $4.87/MMBTU, whereas gas prices for industry in Punjab have been raised to $9/MMBTU. The gas price of $4.05/MMBTU in Bangladesh and $5.19/MMBTU in India are also much lower than the tariff applicable to Punjab-based export industry. The Regionally Competitive Energy Tariff (RCET) provided by the present government over the last three years has yielded outstanding results, he added. He said the industry has delivered to the nation by investing Rs450 billion in machinery for capacity enhancement as per the commitment. This has resulted in an increase of $500 million in exports each and every month in FY22 so far. Zaman apprehended that the new projected investment of $5 billion, setting up of 100 new plants and addition of at least 500,000 new jobs with 90 per cent of them in Punjab would all be jeopardised with this sudden increase in the gas tariff. The Aptma chairman also urged upon the provincial government to take up the matter with the federal government, enabling the export-oriented industry located in Punjab to compete with the similar units elsewhere in the country, as well as export originating from other regional competitors.