Value-added textile sector wants subsidy

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore—Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) central chairman Ijaz Khokhar has asked the Prime Minister to announce its much-awaited textile package committed by him publically and agreed between the government and all stakeholders of the whole textile chains to pull the value-added textile industry out of crisis.
“The cash subsidy of eight percent to exporters, as was decided at the highest level and agreed by the all export industries of the country, should be given immediately and without any delay along with announcing cut in utility prices as par with the rates of regional competitors.”
Denouncing the Pakistan Apparel Forum’s so-called chairman Jawed Bilwani, Ijaz Khokhar said that Pakistan needs to follow Indian textile policy which has already given a lot of cash incentives and rebates along with significant reduction in energy cost for the export sectors.
“There is no written mandate with him to present 12 associations whereas PRGMEA totally disowns Pakistan Apparel Forum as well as the recent statement of its self-proclaimed chairman because majority of whole textile sector is eagerly waiting for cash incentive package announcement so that exports could be sustained.”
Ijaz Khokhar said that all 12 representative bodies of the value-added textile sector are still waiting for the early implementation of the PM Package including relief of cash subsidy along with bringing the input cost on a par with regional competing countries.
“We also want a level playing field for local exporters in world markets as the country’s exports are in constant decline.”
He said that the textile industry constitutes more than 60% of the country’s exports. The value-added textile sector has been providing millions of jobs to skilled and unskilled workers. However, instead of supporting export strategies of the value-added textile sector, the government now depends on raw material exporters.
It’s unfortunate that the government has not given due attention to the rising cost of utilities- a big hurdle in the way of increasing exports along with other reason of around 10% depreciation of Euro.
He further said that, apart from sales tax refunds, billions of rupees under the textile policy initiatives like DLTL are still held up for which funds should be released immediately. PRGMEA Chairman also asked the government to honour its pledge to clear pending tax refunds of exporters, without any delay.
“We hope the govt will fulfill its commitment this time to restore the confidence of the exporters. Despite having a business-friendly government, the country’s business community was facing such critical economic problems, he added.” He said that this is the time of negotiations with the international buyers for 2017 and the exporters have to give entire year’s base price to the buyers in January, adding in case the package is delayed buyer will slip. He said that is a matter of concern for the country that despite GSP Plus window, exports of the country are showing declining trend and related workforce is losing their jobs. By relaxing yarn import from all countries including India the government should adopt pro-export policies and ensure their effective implementation so that country could continue its journey to development and prosperity.