Sialkot - The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association on Sunday proposed the Prime Minister Imran Khan declare Sialkot as a Value-added City, as it is a hub of SME sector, contributing $2.5 billion foreign exchange by adding a multi-fold value addition in garments, sports goods, surgical goods, musical devices, cutlery, leather garments, gloves, handmade badges and military uniforms.
Sialkot is the only city in Asia where its business community has built its airport and now it is going to launch a private airline-‘Airsial’, this will help spur export growth from this city.
PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail Sheik and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar observed that it is the fourth largest value-added garment city in Pakistan, therefore we request the Prime Minister to also announce a ‘garment city’ for Sialkot in line with the garment cities of Karachi, Faisalabad and Lahore. Addressing a meeting, held here to discuss and finalize the meeting agenda with the members, to be presented to the PM on his forthcoming visit to Sialkot, both leaders of PRGMEA pledged that Sialkot, after the establishment of garment city, will be able to increase garment export three-fold to $1.5 billion from the current figure of $530 million.
“We appreciate the PM as well as Adviser to PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood for incorporating our several major demands in forthcoming textile policy and hope that rest of the proposals will also get their serious consideration before its final approval from the cabinet,” the central chairman said. He said that all PRGMEA members welcome speedy disbursement of sales tax refunds under FASTER plus system, DLTL refunds, customs rebate being deposited directly into the bank, cut in power tariff for SMEs and reduction of interest rate to 7 per cent, which would ultimately lead to an aggressive sale in future and hopefully gear up the export in 2021. Ijaz Khokhar observed that the SBP’s relief measures, including Temporary Economic Refinance Facility for machinery imports, is very encouraging and good for industrial expansion. “The PRGMEA appreciates the efforts of the PM to cut power tariff for SMEs which covers almost 90 per cent of the industry and especially the efforts of the commerce ministry to promote economic growth in the country and provide liquidity and other support to the value-added apparel sector during COVID-19 are appreciable.”
The Chairman also hailed the significant growth observed in apparel export for Nov 2020. He said that this was in line with the government policy of promotion of value-added exports, which is reflecting a healthy trend. He called for advising trade missions abroad to actively engage the importers for promotion of Pakistan’s exports. “We are thankful to the government for releasing Rs1.78 billion for the textile sector under the Drawback of Local Taxes and Levy scheme (DLTL). He expressed the hope that this would resolve the liquidity issues of exporters and enable them to enhance exports further. Sohail A. Sheikh observed that the proposed declaration of Sialkot as a ‘value-added city’ could enable it to help achieve national targets on export promotion, employment generation, besides productivity enhancement and brand creation in a progressive way to attract the international buyers. He hailed the establishment of a new technical university in Sialkot, saying the varsity and the Garment City would create well trained and skilled manpower, integrating the entire apparel industry and SME sector in the area.