TEXTILE industry, which is the biggest source of earning dollars for Pakistan through its exported oriented products, is in deep crisis at the moment.
About seven million people associated with this industry have reportedly been laid off as it is on the verge of closure with many units already closed down whilst several others are planning to shift their production abroad.
This situation should raise alarm bells in the quarters concerned which should come forward to address the problems faced by the textile industry.
According to the Textile Association, factories are being deprived of necessary raw material and accessories.
Letters of credit worth as low as $5,000 are being refused, which has hit in-progress export orders of $500,000 per consignment.
It is causing severe disruption and production delays and has led to the cancellation of export orders.
Demurrage on various consignments has increased the cost too much. We understand that the government has taken some tough decisions including cutting imports to save the foreign exchange reserves from further fall but the textile sector is the one which brings dollars to the country.
The current shortage of dollars can be overcome only by promoting exports. According to available data, textile exports plunged by nineteen percent in November as compared to corresponding period last year.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) had also written a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warning that textile exports could fall below one billion dollar a month from January 2023 onwards.
Then at a time when inflation has broken the back of the common man, closure of the textile as well as other industries including automobiles will leave the people high and dry.
As the foreign exchange reserves situation is likely to improve in the coming days, the government must sit with the textile industry and address their genuine problems, especially those relating to import of raw material. We have to save the industry at all costs to keep the economy afloat.
Focus should also be given to bolstering domestic production of cotton that fully caters to requirements of the textile industry.