KARACHI - Federal Minister of Textile Rana Farooq Saeed Khan has stressed the need for research, development and training in textile sector which will help enhance exports and also earn billions of dollars of foreign exchange after attaining high level of value-addition. He expressed these views while distributing the training certificates among the 70 successful women trainees who have recently completed their training under Stitching Machine Operator Training Programme (SMOT) of Ministry of Textile Industry at J&M Clothing Company at EPZA here on Tuesday. Rana Farooq said that government wanted to avoid the shortage of skilled workers for readymade garments sector and the objective of this exercise was to train large number of skilled stitching machine operators to provide support to textile garments sector. The Minister said that 60pc remaining R&D Fund would soon be released by Finance Ministry to SBP. He said that textile policy has been announced for the first time in 62 years and govt assured the industry that it would be followed and implemented in letter and spirit. He said that govt was committed to support the textile industry as it was not only the largest foreign exchange earner for Pakistan but also the largest employment-oriented industry. He said that international friends of the country should open up their markets for Pakistani textile products and remove all kind of restriction imposed on textile imports from Pakistan. He said that Pakistan can solve its all problems through enhanced trade and exports. He said that government was considering for establishing training centres in rural areas and setting up textile units with the cooperation of private sector so that rural population could also be brought into the economic cycle. Central Chairman PRGM-EA Mohsin Ayub Mirza said that SMOT Programme has been very supportive for the entire apparel industry which provides two months quality training in stitching to the existing women labour force. He said that SMOT Scheme was aimed at increasing the participation of women work force in the economic activities which could result in their socio-economic uplift, he added. Chairman PRGMEA informed that, women, who come for this training at J&M Clothing Company at EPZA were provided 100 percent job guarantee on successful completion of their training course and were also provided with subsidised food, transport, monthly stipend and insurance of up to rupees two lakh. Commissioner Textile, Idrees Ahmed informed that over 5,000 trainees, including 3,000 women have so far been trained by Textile Skill Development Board in textile garments stitching sector.