Road to $50 billion exports

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ALL Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has launched an ambitious programme namely ‘Road to $50 billion Exports’ to help strengthen the country’s crisis-ridden economy.

According to Dr Gohar Ejaz, Patron-in-Chief of the Association, the goal would be achieved by moving to the stitch sector and conversion of $3 billion yarn and fabrics of the country into value-added garments for exports fetching additional export of $10 billion.

The goal though seems to be ambitious yet not impossible as textile is the most important manufacturing sector of Pakistan and has the longest production chain, with inherent potential for value addition at each stage.

According to a World Bank report released last year, Pakistan is missing out on almost $50 billion worth of exports related to the textile industry which can prove to be a major boon for Pakistan’s debilitating economic situation characterized by repeated boom-bust cycles.

The textile sector of Pakistan witnessed its glorious era during the 1960s and 1970s whereby it constituted 11 per cent of the world market which was quite an economic success but then came the downfall and the sector has not been able to realize its true potential despite billions of dollars spent for modernization and value addition.

There is, therefore, something very serious which hinders the required growth of the sector and irritants need to be removed through intensive consultations among all stakeholders.

The APTMA demands the Government should continue with its various subsidies to support its plans to invest up to $7 billion for generating over 700,000 jobs and fetching $20 billion in exports, with a target to achieve $50 billion in exports by 2026.

It wants adequate supply of energy at regionally competitive tariffs, and availability of working capital and there is every reason to support this demand as we cannot compete in the international market without supportive policies.

There is also logic to encourage the sector to implement its plan of establishing 1,000 garment plants near major textile producing cities like Lahore, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Kasur, Multan, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Peshawar as this would help boost production and create employment opportunities in different areas.

As there is an unfortunate impression that the textile sector is not showing results proportionate to the incentives it gets, the APTMA should provide firm guarantees that the roadmap to push exports to $50 billion would be achieved at all costs in the next four years.

 

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