Caustic soda industry: problems and its remedies.
Another Caustic Soda Plant under the name and style M/s. Ravi Alkalis Limited was commissioned near Sheikhupura, in 1997, which added to the surplus already existing in the country, indicative of the fact that there would not be any shortage of product for another 4-5 years to come.
Caustic Soda is a basic and very essential chemical, even known in the history, which caters for the needs of Soap, Textile, Power Generation, Oil and Vegetable Ghee, Fertilizers, Paper and Board, Pharmaceuticals, Beverages, Petroleum, Defence, Oil & Gas, Metal and host of other important industries of the country. In addition to Caustic Soda, which is the main product in Pakistan, there are other chemicals comprising Chlorine, Hydrochloric Acid and Sodium Hypochlorite, which are also produced simultaneously along with Caustic Soda.
CausticSoda Industry is contributing tremendously to the national economy by paying Rs.500.00 million annually in taxes and saving foreign exchange to the tune of Rs.3.00 billion, as substitution to the imports. This industry is also playing an important role in minimizing unemployment by providing jobs to 1500 people directly and about 10,000 indirectly.
Caustic Soda is an energy intensive industry and electricity is its major raw material component constituting about 60% of the product cost. The domestic energy tariffs are very high comparing the tariffs, prevalent currently in the most advanced nations as well as in neighbouring countries including India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf member states of the region. WAPDA is increasing its tariff every month, more often in a very clandestine manner, which have driven the local industry to the verge of disaster. Self-generation of energy does not look now to be viable solution to the problem because of very high outlay of power plants which is the consequences of recurring rupee devaluation the recent past and 100% increase in the prices of furnace oil during the last one year.
it is very pertinent to say that when the prices of every commodity in the country have increased by 2-3 times in the past. Caustic Soda is perhaps the only product, whose prices have been maintained more or less static for the benefit of common man despite increase in the costs of all its inputs. Local Caustic Soda industry is totally indigenous and its raw materials are available within the country.
Production of Caustic Soda in Pakistan Fiscal Caustic Year Soda 1991-92 82,009 1992-93 81,381 1993-94 89,114 1994-95 92,746 1995-96 108,971 1996-97 118,154 1997-98 120,000