LAHORE-Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association has expressed its serious concern over declining trend in textile exports, which dropped by 1.34 percent to $5.941 billion during the first four months of July-Oct in current fiscal year.

PHMA North Zone Chairman Naseer But, expressing the need for solid steps and consistency in policies, observed that value added textile exports should be increased to get rid of external debts, dictation of IMF and other international financial institutions.

He called for continuation of Duty Drawback of Local Taxes & Levies (DLTL) Scheme to ensure growth in country’s exports, besides releasing the stuck up claims of 2019-20 under this scheme.

The PHMA leader said that the knitwear exports had registered a high growth during the previous fiscal year, as the DLTL scheme had proved to be a lifeline for value-added textile industry and a halt to it would result in closure of it, leading to export of raw material from the country without value addition.

He said that the knitwear industry is highly labour-intensive and the emerging textile economies like Bangladesh and Vietnam had registered stellar growth simply by supporting this industry.

Referring to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), he said that the country’s textile group exports witnessed a decline of 15.23 percent in October 2022 on a year-on-year basis and remained at $1.36 billion when compared to $1.6 billion during the same month of last year. On a month-on-month basis, the textile group registered 11.13 per cent negative growth compared to $1.53 billion in September 2022.

Raw cotton exports registered 100 per cent growth in July-October 2022-23 on a YoY basis. Cotton yarn exports registered 27.73 per cent negative growth in July-October and remained $285.315 million compared to $394.765 million during the same period of the last year.

On a year-on-year basis, cotton yarn exports registered 53.79 per cent negative growth, while on a MoM basis, it registered 35.30 per cent negative growth.

He said the government and all the stakeholders should make decisions in the national interest with confidence. He said that value-added textile sector was not only a source of valuable foreign exchange for the country but also provides employment to millions of people.

He demanded that electricity and gas prices for the textile industry be maintained for next year to sustain the previous exports growth. The government should continue the regionally competitive power tariff for the export-oriented textile sector to sustain and uplift exports. These rates should continue till at least FY23 to bring the sustainability factor as the textile sector contributes significantly to overall national exports. If this sector gets no relief, that will ultimately impact the overall economy, he added. Countries that compete with Pakistan in global textile exports including Bangladesh, India, China and Vietnam give reduced quotations of up to 15% to foreign buyers as compared to those given by Pakistan. In contrast, exporters in Pakistan are battling hard to survive and compete on a very low profit margin, noted the PHMA Zonal head. The government should encourage exports and export-oriented sectors to have long-term sustainability in the balance of payments, he noted. The value-added textile industry had previously achieved a milestone in exports with total national exports in FY22 amounting to $31.79 billion, of which textile exports were worth an impressive $19.4 billion. Likewise, hosiery exports touched the highest value of $5.12 billion, he said.

Crucially, more than 40 industries are associated with the value-added textile export industry. The value-added textile sector is the backbone of the economy, earning the highest foreign exchange and generating urban employment as a labour-intensive industry, emphasized Naseer Butt.