Textile millers have urged the government to revert gas prices to previous rates, citing their inability to operate industrial units due to low gas pressure despite rates doubling since February 2022. Despite government assurances of adequate gas supply, mills could only run at 40 % capacity in January due to gas pressure issues. Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), called on Petrobangla, the state-owned oil and gas supplier, to either adjust gas prices or ensure ample gas supply to industrial units. Gas shortages have plagued areas like Narayanganj for 15 days, while mills in Chattogram, Savar, Ashulia, Araihazar, and Gazipur struggle with pressure ranging from 0 to 2 PSI. The crisis has impacted the home textile sector, leading to a decline in exports from $1.6 billion to $600 million in the last fiscal year.
Mills are facing production cuts from 50 to 20 tons of yarn daily, suffer revenue losses and affect foreign currency earnings. Concerns arise about timely delivery to international retailers, as mills cannot operate at full capacity. While fresh investment and capital machinery imports were limited in 2023, efforts to utilize 15 billion kilograms of cotton waste are underway. Mr. Khokon highlighted the upcoming Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery Exhibition, focusing on efficient, gas-saving technologies like hydrogen-run mills. The event, organized by BTMA, Chan Chao International Company Ltd, and Yorkers Trade & Marketing Services Co Ltd, will run from February 1-4 at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka.