Support textile industry

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PERTURBED over government apathy towards textile industry, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has announced to observe black day on Tuesday by closing down mills across the country to protest against anti-industry, anti-investment and anti-export policies of the present government. The association has voiced dismay over non-implementation of Rs 180 billion package as well as high cost of inputs.
At a time when the country is facing burgeoning trade deficit of $32 billion with exports and remittances on the decline, ignoring the important sector of textile which has an overwhelming impact on the economy and contributes almost sixty percent to the exports, will be suicidal for the economy and not help in any manner to reduce the growing trade deficit. The way APTMA has come out with a protest campaign clearly reflects that textile industry is facing a crisis-like situation. If we look towards regional competitors such as Bangladesh, India, China and Vietnam, they are fully backing the industry with all sorts of incentives including low cost of inputs which has given them the edge to multiply their exports. Whilst in case of Pakistan, several factors are impeding the growth of our industry and thereby it is losing its share in the world trade. In today’s highly competitive global environment, textile sector also needs to upgrade its supply chain, improve productivity and maximise value addition to survive. This is only possible if the sector is provided with congenial environment and full support to meet these challenges and attain global competitiveness. We, therefore, will urge finance and commerce ministries to sit with the representatives of APTMA and address their genuine concerns vis-à-vis removal of surcharges on electricity tariff and also provision of gas and LNG on subsidised rates. The government should also deliver on its promises and the package announced by the PM earlier this year with the aim to ensure export led growth be implemented in letter and in spirit. Government must show seriousness for viability and sustainability of the textile industry which accrued over $ 10.29 billion during the first ten months of current fiscal year in exports despite the fact that substantial capacity to produce exportable surplus either remained fully or partially closed due to different factors including high energy cost. This reflects the sector has the capacity to multiply its exports in a matter of no time for which the government will have to pursue an export oriented growth strategy which has become imperative to arrest the growing trade deficit and reap the benefits of socio-economic benefits.