KARACHI: Federal Ministry of Commerce and Textile seeks concrete and comprehensive proposals from the representatives of all the textile associations, especially the value-adding, for strengthening textile industry and boost its exports.
State Minister for Commerce and Textile, Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari, at an interactive session with textile exporters here Friday night, assured that he would soon arrange a detailed meeting of the textile industry representatives with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the resolution of their problems and come up with better policies for the textile industry and the exports.
The programme was hosted by Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA). The prominent among the number of textile industrialists and exporters present were PRGMEA’s Chief Coordinator and Central Chairman-elect Shaikh Muhammad Shafiq, Chairman, Council of Textile Associations, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum Muhammad Jawed Bilwani and Mian Zahid Hussain.
The Minister, said that during the meeting with the Prime Minister, along with other issues of the textile industry, the condition of ten percent incremental increase in exports for the exporters to qualify for the PM Exporters’ Package would be taken up and got revoked. And, he added, the continuity of seven percent duty drawback on the exports would be sought and the funds granted. Third core issue of utilities’ tariffs for the textile industry would also be addressed there.
Muhammad Zubair Motiwala and Muhammad Jawed Bilwani maintained that the exports were increased by 13 percent in last couple of months owing to the duty drawback incentive, which should continue to be given beyond June this year.
Under the PM Exporters’ Package, the seven percent incentive to exporters was linked to their 10 percent increase in their exports – individual case to case basis- against that of 2016-17 exports; after six months grace period up to June 2017.
For long-term policies for promotion of textile industry and the exports of the country, the Minister advised, all the textile associations especially value-adding ones should submit to the Ministry of Commerce and Textile their well-conceived and targeted oriented proposals.
Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari assured the business community that the government was committed and was making the best possible efforts for promoting trade and industry with focus on textile industry, which was the key player in the country’s exports and the economy, by cutting the cost of doing business with reduction in tariffs of the utilities and price of inputs.
Ansari said that he had already discussed with the Prime Minister the ways and means about, how to cut the cost of doing business to make Pakistan’s private sector competitive in the region.
He agreed with the exporters that the Prime Minister Exporters’ Package, announced last year by then prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, should be fully implemented at the earliest to support the exports, which had declined to $ 19 billion from $ 25 billion in the fiscal year 2016-17. However, the exports had risen over last couple of months. The target for this year is $ 35 billion.
“ Me and Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik had met the Prime Minister and convinced him that the country’s exports shall not take-off unless the PM Exporters’ Package is implemented,” he informed.
He underlined the need for formation of an implementation committee for the PM Exporters’ Package, which should include representatives of all the stakeholders from the private sector and the concerned Federal Government Secretaries.
He also informed that in the next couple of days, the Federal Cabinet would meet and was confident that many important decisions about trade and industry would be taken.
He supported the exporters’ demand that their refunds amounting hundreds of billions be paid as soon as possible to provide them with liquidity.
To the demand from Muhammad Jawed Bilwani that textile industry should have separate and minimum tariffs of power and gas to improve its cost efficiency, the minister said “ yes, textile industry should have subsidized tariffs on the patron of the Kissan Package.” Chairman, Council of Textile Associations, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala and Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum Muhammad Jawed Bilwani demanded that 4 percent duty drawback be allowed only on the local sales of yarn, otherwise, he maintained, it would be counter-productive for the local value-adding textile exporters.
Motiwala suggested that if the government faced any problem to pay pending refunds around Rs 200 billion to the exporters, it would be better to give them floating bonds to enable them to get loan from banks to overcome the issue of their liquidity.
Motiwala said the government should come up with more incentives and practical steps to ensure high scale of value addition in textile industry. He gave example of Bangladesh that was earning six times more than Pakistan by value-addition to imported cotton as not single bale cotton was being produced there.
Former chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, Mian Zahid Hussain called for jump starts instead of taking minor steps by the government for the increase in the exports of the country.