PTEA demands structural policy initiatives for economy revival

FAISALABAD   -   The Pakistan Textile Exporters Asso­ciation (PTEA) has demanded structural policy initiatives to revive the economy and stimulate economic growth.

In a statement issued on Monday, Khurram Mukhtar, the Patron-in-Chief of PTEA, expressed deep concern over the current economic uncertainty, citing high interest rates and limited availabil­ity of funds as major impediments to the growth of industrialization and exports in the country. He highlighted the nega­tive impacts of the economic slowdown on the textile industry, which is Pakistan’s largest manufacturing sector. He men­tioned that textile exports have declined from a peak of $1.74 billion in April 2022 to a low of $1.18 billion in February 2023, and are now stagnant at around $1.4 bil­lion per month, $600 million below the installed production capacity.

Mukhtar pointed out that the high interest rate, which is currently at a record high of 22%, is adversely affect­ing the export sectors in Pakistan. He compared the policy rates of regional countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, which range from 4.5% to 11%, highlighting the dis­advantage faced by Pakistan. The high interest rates are creating uncertainty in the business environment and hin­dering long-term plans and investments due to hefty borrowing costs. Addition­ally, the exporters are facing challenges as their funds are stuck in the refund re­gime, forcing them to take loans at high interest rates, thereby increasing the cost of doing business and making them uncompetitive in the region, he added.

Mukhtar emphasized the importance of the Large-Scale Manufacturing sec­tor, which accounts for almost a quar­ter of the country’s GDP. He noted that the growth in output of the sector has decreased by less than 1% during the July-January period of the financial year 2023-24. This drop, coupled with other issues such as high inflation, a growing current account deficit, depleting foreign exchange reserves, fiscal imbalances, and declining foreign direct investments, poses a serious concern for the economy, he added. Mukhtar demanded the gov­ernment to take immediate measures to address these challenges, remove bottle­necks in export growth, and save the industrial sector from further decline. He also stressed the need for structural policy initiatives to revive the economy and stimulate economic growth.

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