LAHORE: An interactive session on National Economic Security has been organized by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) for the course participants of National Defence University (NDU) the other day at the Royal Palm Golf Country Club.
On the occasion, APTMA panels made presentations on cotton production, energy crisis, international trade and interest rate regime in connection with the textile industry.
Chairman APTMA Punjab S M Tanveer welcomed the NDU delegation, comprising of senior army and civil officials and highlighted various initiatives on sustainability and compliance of the industry including energy and water conservation and setting up of Sustainable Production Centre.
APTMA is a premier body of textile industry association and its contribution to the national economy, exports, employment and initiatives on sustainability is well known. The panel on cotton and man-made fibres told the participants that importance of cotton production can be gauged from the fact that every one million bales of cotton produce one million jobs in the country.
A detailed presentation was made on energy scarcity, pointing out that electricity tariff for industry in Pakistan is 15 cents per unit against 7 to 8 cents per unit in the region. The textile industry was yet exposed to 6 hours a day electricity load shedding on independent feeders.
In addition, gas supply to textile industry has reduced to 114 days in 2013 against 302 days in 2008. The textile industry in Punjab, as a matter of fact, was receiving 31 percent gas of its demand against 100 percent supply in rest of the country.
Group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz said the textile entrepreneurs are national asset of our country. Pakistan has covered the distance from nationalization to privatization to deregulation and finally the free market mechanism, ready to take off now subject to enabling environment and policies.
He said debt repayment is highest element in budget expenditures and the government is major borrower of banks. The private sector credit used to be 66 percent 10 years back, which has now reduced to 33 percent.
Brig. Jamil Masud, speaking on behalf of the NDU, termed the interactive session very fruitful, saying that it has provided answers to many questions of the delegation. The textile industry can take Pakistan out of economic mess once the problems of interest rate, FDIs and market access are resolved. He further expressed the hope that the policymakers will follow the spirit of political will and good governance in the larger national economic interest of the country.