KARACHI: Pakistan’s economy is facing worst conditions and the government should take immediate measures to boost exports.
Zahid Mazhar, chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Sindh-Balochistan Region, said that enhance in exports will not only help reduce massive fiscal and current account deficits, but also curtail rising trade deficit gap, unprecedented devaluation of the rupee, highest discount rate in the region and high inflation trend. Only the textile industry was capable to double its exports in the next five years, he said, and urged the government to address all the issues of the sector on priority basis.
He said the first 100 days of the PTI government had already been lapsed and the government is yet to adopt measures to reverse the trend. “Drastic situation requires drastic measures,” he said, adding that if corrective measures are not taken in the next 30 days, the economic situation of the country will further worsen.
Highlighting the issues hurting the viability of textile industry to compete with its regional competitors, Mazhar said that some of the major issues are high cost of doing business, inordinate delay in payment of refunds of sales, income taxes and duty drawback to exporters, highest policy rate in the region, and shortage of basic raw materials, ie, cotton for meeting consumption requirement of the industry at competitive prices.
The APTMA official said increase in the cost of doing business cannot be passed on to the international buyers, which is resulting in de-industrialisation and decline in Pakistan’s share in the global textile trade.
In contrast, the share of our regional competitors such as Bangladesh, India and Vietnam is rising, he added.
He urged the government to give immediate attention to the cotton crop, which has witnessed a massive decline over the last few years. Four years ago, Pakistan had achieved the highest cotton crop of 14.87 million bales, which has now declined to 10.8 million bales as against the actual potential of 17.5 million bales annually.
Resultantly, the spinning industry has to import around four million bales of raw cotton every year to meet its consumption requirements. Despite acute shortage of cotton, the previous government had imposed three percent Customs duty, two percent additional duty and five percent sales tax on import of raw cotton, which should be removed without any further delay, he said.